DILG warns poll bets vs paying ‘permit to campaign’ fees to communist rebels

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2021   •   177

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday warned all candidates in the 2022 national and local elections against paying the so-called permit to campaign fees to the communist rebels.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año reminded candidates of the Memorandum Circular 2019-26, which calls this modus operandi as a “clear form of extortion and defilement of the sanctity of the right to suffrage.”

“Huwag po tayong magpaloko at matakot. Ang ibabayad n’yong extortion money sa mga komunista ay gagamitin din nila para makapaghasik ng terorismo sa bansa,” he adds.

In the said directive, Año enjoined local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police to ensure that all candidates are allowed unhampered entrance in every LGU and guarantee peace and order in all areas especially those considered as hotspots for insurgency.

“All local officials should steer clear of directly or indirectly giving financial, material and political support to the CPP-NPA since this is a clear violation of law. This is something that the DILG under my leadership will never tolerate,” he said.

LGUs are also directed to ensure that all citizens desiring to exercise their right to suffrage are allowed and encouraged, and their rights are protected when participating in political assemblies and meetings and in the dissemination and receipt of information of any and all election-related matters.

“We must secure all candidates and political parties and ensure that they are given access to the electorate during the campaign period without intimidation and manipulation from communist terrorist groups,” he said.

The DILG said it will file disqualification cases against candidates who will be proven to have supported and cooperated with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

“Supporting communist terrorist groups through financing or other means is an election offense and is sufficient to cause the disqualification of a candidate,” DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in the same statement.

“We will follow through on our words, those politicians who will be proven as accomplices of the CPP-NPA will face disqualification cases from the DILG,” he said.

The DILG also cited Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 10168 known as ‘The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012’, which states that any person who finances terrorist groups to carry out or facilitate the commission of any terrorist act, by a terrorist organization, association or group, or by an individual terrorist, shall be guilty of the crime of financing terrorism.

Malaya said that under RA 10168, the crime of financing terrorism is punishable by the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000) to not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000).

Such is also punishable under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines which can render the accused “permanent disqualification to hold public office” with imprisonment of one to six years, he added.

 

Immigration personnel barred from engaging in political activities – Morente

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday reminded its employees to refrain from actively engaging in partisan political activities whether offline or on social media.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that employees are prohibited from campaigning actively and soliciting votes and support for their election bets as mandated by the law.

“This election season, as public servants, we are expected to remain politically neutral as this is mandated by law,” he said.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution defines election campaign or partisan political activity as “any act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or party to public office.”

Morente also said that the mere wearing of shirts, caps, or pins showing the names and faces of the candidates is prohibited according to advisories from the Civil Service Commission and the Commission on Elections.

“This shall cover all our employees, whether they are permanent, or contractual,” he added.

He also reminded BI employees to “adhere to the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees with respect to their actions online, and use good judgment in sharing information.”

Morente warned that officers found engaging in partisan political activities will be penalized with one month and one day suspension to six months for the first offense.

PNP chief tells cops to keep social media posts apolitical

Robie de Guzman   •   October 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar on Monday reminded all police personnel to remain apolitical even in the messages they post on their personal social media accounts.

In a statement, Eleazar advised cops to refrain from campaigning for or against any political aspirant in the 2022 national and local elections.

The PNP chief earlier urged police officers to avail of the extended period for the voter registration so they may exercise their right to suffrage as citizens.

However, he pointed out that as members of the police force, they must remain apolitical in carrying out their mandate.

Eleazar reminded policemen to be careful in expressing their political leanings on social media as such would go against the organization’s non-partisan stance in politics.

“I am reminding all police personnel to be mindful of what they post on their social networking accounts and refrain from showing support for or campaigning against local or national political aspirants,” he said.

“These may be personal accounts maintained by PNP personnel but anything posted in them would ultimately reflect on the organization and put to question our apolitical stance,” he added.

Citing the PNP memorandum circular on the guidelines on social media content and engagements, Eleazar stressed the provision that prohibits the posting of messages that would be inimical to the interest of the PNP as an organization and prescribes administrative sanctions on violators of the ban.

“Uulitin ko ang babala sa bawat pulis na huwag makisawsaw sa pulitika. Ang tanging dapat natin panigan ay ang bansa at ang taumbayan, hindi ang ilang personalidad, pulitiko o partido,” Eleazar said.

Sen. Bato dela Rosa files COC for president

Robie de Guzman   •   October 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has joined the 2022 presidential race.

Dela Rosa filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) on Friday at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City, a few hours before the filing of COCs was due to close.

He is running for president under the PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and backed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Dela Rosa is a former national police chief who led Duterte’s war on drugs.

According to PDP-Laban secretary general Melvin Matibag, Dela Rosa’s running mate is Senator Bong Go.

Go earlier filed his COC for vice president.

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