Members of church-based org face non-bailable raps for terror financing
MANILA, Philippines–The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed criminal charges against 16 individuals, including nuns from the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP)/ RMP-Northern Mindanao Region (NMR), for providing financial support to a terrorist organization.
In a briefer provided to the media on Monday, the DOJ said: “probable cause exists to indict 16 respondents for making funds available to the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army).”
Incoming spokesperson Atty. Jose Dominic Clavano said 55 informations (charge sheet) were filed against the 16 individuals for violation of Section 8 of Republic Act 10168 or The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.
Section 8 of RA 10168 carries a penalty of up to 40 years of imprisonment and a fine that ranges from P500,000 to P1 million.
Clavano said no bail was recommended for the 16 respondents.
He said most of the 16 charged before the Iligan City Regional Trial Court are members of RMP.
Under the frontlinedefenders.org, RMP “is a church-based national organization, comprising priests and lay persons. The group empowers farmers, fisher-folk, and indigenous peoples and educates them on their rights.”
Clavano said the joint resolution was based only on testimonies of two former members and the documents presented by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). However, the DOJ did not provide details of what these documents are. No copy of the resolution or charge sheet was given to the media for privacy reasons.
Clavano added that they “failed to submit their counter-affidavits.” However, it was unclear if subpoenas were issued to the 16 if they ignored them or were unable to receive them.
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