NPA rebels target bets’ campaign fundsBy Joey Gabieta |Inquirer Visayas
TACLOBAN CITY—Communist guerrillas would seize the campaign funds of candidates who resort to vote-buying and coercion, according to the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Fr. Santiago Salas, spokesperson of the NDF in Eastern Visayas, said candidates using dirty tactics in their campaign would be “dealt with accordingly.”
The New People’s Army (NPA), Salas said in a statement, has been instructed to confiscate the campaign funds of candidates found using dirty tactics.
The money that would be seized will be used “for the people,” said the NDF statement.
Salas said candidates for local positions spend huge amounts just to win. Candidates for governors and congressmen, he said, spend P100 million to P200 million each to buy votes or coerce voters.
“They are spending such for three-year positions, roughly worth about P3 million in accumulated salaries,” Salas said.
“It goes to show that the winning candidates will be recouping their spending by continuing the vicious cycle of systematic corruption, patronage politics and crime while in power,” he said.
Salas said the guerrillas would monitor candidates, especially in villages that are under “revolutionary jurisdiction,” or areas where guerrillas maintain a presence.
Candidates should be allowed, however, to finance projects that benefit the people, Salas said.
The military in Eastern Visayas earlier said 124 of 4,000 barangays (villages) in Eastern Visayas are considered under the influence of the NPA.
These are mostly in the three Samar provinces—Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.
The military in the region had accused the NPA of soliciting permit to campaign and permit to win fees from candidates, ranging from P50,000 to P5 million, depending on the position being sought by a candidate. Salas denied it.
Capt. Amado Gutierrez, acting information officer of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City, Samar, said the NDF threat is just propaganda to counter reports of rebel extortion activities.
He said documents found by soldiers in NPA lairs showed the rebels are demanding P50,000 to P5 million in so-called permit to campaign fees.
Gutierrez said the military also received reports that winning candidates are being required to pay rebels so-called “permit to win” fees.
He said candidates should shun the NPA and report extortion attempts by rebels to the military.