MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reminded candidates that payment of permit to campaign and permit to win fees to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and its allied organizations are election offenses and may be grounds for disqualification.

Based on the minutes of a recent meeting, presided by then acting chairperson Socorro Inting, the Commission en Banc approved the recommendation of the Law Department in response to the letter of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to issue a resolution on the possible penalties for candidates who agree to pay such fees.

“The concern on payment of candidates of a Permit to Campaign and Permit to Win fees to the CPP-NPA-NDF and its allied organizations are already covered by existing laws/resolutions of the Commission,” the en banc said during an online meeting.

The payment of such fees violates Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code on vote-buying and selling; and threats, intimidation, terrorism, use of fraudulent device or other forms of coercion, which may be prosecuted by the Comelec and other prosecuting arms of the government.

It is also a violation of Republic Acts No. 10168 (The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012) and 11479 (Anti-Terrorism Act).

“Further, in order to prevent rampant extortion activities in connection with the May 9, 2022 national elections, it is respectfully recommended to direct the Education and Information Department and the Task Force Kontra Bigay (Against Illegal Payment) to ensure the widest dissemination of this information,” the Comelec added. (PNA)