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32 Western Visayas execs probed for NPA links

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — For allegedly receiving support from communist rebels in the May 13 elections, 32 local officials in Western Visayas are being monitored by the Philippine National Police.

Lt. Col. Joem Malong, spokesperson for the PNP in Western Visayas, said the local officials included 11 mayors, six vice mayors, 14 councilors and a provincial board member.

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Sixteen of the officials are in Iloilo (five mayors, two vice mayors and nine councilors), nine in Capiz (four mayors, two vice mayors and three councilors) and seven in Negros Occidental (a provincial board member, two mayors, two vice mayors and two councilors).

No liability?

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Malong, citing intelligence reports, said New People’s Army (NPA) rebels either allowed the officials to campaign in areas where they operated or directly campaigned for them.

Malong declined to name the officials but said they faced no liabilities if they merely received support from the rebels. Their names, however, were submitted to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“We are determining if they gave support in any form to the rebels in return for the electoral support,” Malong told the Inquirer.

The PNP has been asking local governments to pass resolutions declaring NPA rebels as “persona non grata” (undesirable or unwelcome) in their areas.

A police proposal to declare the NPA persona non grata in Iloilo City was rejected by the city council early this year.

The NPA on Panay Island downplayed the resolutions, saying these were instigated by the military and the DILG.

“The [declarations] are meant to assuage the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and the Duterte administration amid their failure to defeat the revolutionary forces,” Julie Guerrero, spokesperson for the NPA’s Coronacion “Waling-Waling” Command, said in a statement.

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TAGS: communist links, Joem Malong, NPA, PNP‎, Western Visayas local officials
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