Missionary group cries foul over terrorist financing raps vs members
MANILA, Philippines – The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) denounced what it said was a “Marcosian state attack” against some of its members, who are facing non-bailable charges for allegedly financing the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
The Department of Justice earlier indicted 16 individuals, including four RMP nuns, claiming that the group’s bank accounts showed that those involved “made funds available to the CPP-NPA.”
In a statement on Thursday, the RMP called the move a “part of [the] worsening state repression against human rights defenders.”
“Why is the government – especially from Duterte to Marcos II – hellbent on using all resources at its disposal to shut down the [RMP] for good?” the group asked.
Aside from condemning the criminal raps lodged against its members, RMP also “expressed serious concerns for the safety of those charged, noting that two are already jailed on other trumped-up charges.”
“The Marcos II government is using the same playbook by predecessor [Rodrigo] Duterte by demonizing legal democratic organizations such as RMP which provide much-needed services to the people and putting its members in direct harm’s way,” it added.
RMP reiterated that all its projects are “well-documented, reported and accounted for.”
It further pointed out that RMP’s mission work has been “seriously hampered because of the relentless state attacks.”
“The demonization of RMP’s work has negatively affected various ministries in sustainable agriculture, rural schools, disaster risk reduction, climate change mitigation, health services, defense of human rights, and organic farming,” it noted.
RMP also questioned the testimonies of one of the two supposed NPA surrenderees.
“In exchange for her mother’s release, she executed a spurious statement accusing RMP members of channeling funds to the CPP-NPA,” it explained.
Several groups, including the National Union of the People’s Lawyers, have similarly sounded the alarm over the accusations against the 16 indicted individuals.
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