The military will be intensifying their campaign against New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who are reportedly extorting money from candidates in the coming May elections. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that the crackdown on armed groups is only one measure of many that will be implemented to ensure peaceful and orderly polls.
“At the same time, we will run after the NPA who are extorting money from candidates. So ‘yung identified areas where armed groups are roaming around — that will be one of the tasks,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs chief Colonel Noel Detoyato said Tuesday.
The AFP is already tasked with securing candidates, especially in identified “poll hotspots” where political rivalries or other conflicts may lead to violence.
Detoyato also said that candidates with relevant information on extortion activities or other infringements on the electoral process should report these immediately to the AFP. Candidates who are found to be providing resources or assistance to “enemies of the state” such as members of insurgency groups will be given corresponding sanctions.
“‘Yung extortion that has long been practiced by the NPA and that has also been, long been being tolerated by candidates and local politicians,” Detoyato said.
“But this time, if we find proof of them paying or giving in to the extortion demands we will report them to the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and sanctions will be meted to them,” he added.
Detoyato said that politicians who give into the demands of the NPA are “fueling rebellion”. Giving into the demands of the rebels will mean supplying them with the means to obtain comforts, aid, or even arms. This, said Detoyato, is a violation of the Revised Penal Code.