Shakedown artists

February 14, 2019

The election season offers a seasonal opportunity for communists rebels to make a financial bonanza.

Election campaign spending is just too tempting for the New Peoples’Army to pass up on as they desperately raise funds to finance their armed struggle to established a Marxist state.

However, their cash-generation methods include extortion, harassment, and threats of sabotage or destruction of private properties and business establishments or industrial facilities.

This makes these rebels nothing more than shakedown artist with an army of leg-breakers and other thugs.

That’s why state security officials would be on the lookout for these organized hoodlums out to make big money at the expense of candidates in this year’s mid-term elections.

With the campaign period for the May polls now in full swing, the Armed Forces (AFP) announced that it would keep a tight lookout on NPA rebels out to extort money from candidates.

This is aside from area security the military will provide during the 90-day campaign period, Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP public affairs office chief, said in an interview with reporters Tuesday.

"(While) providing area security during the campaign period and securing candidates, we will (also) run after the NPAs who are roaming around because they have a tendency to go down and approach politicians who are running (to extort money), so yun din ang isang paraan para mahuli natin sila (that is one way to capture them)," he said.

The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States and the European Union.

Detoyato also urged candidates to immediately contact the AFP should rebels approach and try to extort money from them so that appropriate measures can be taken.

"The politicians who will be contacted should cooperate with us, basta malaman kung sino yung kinocontact and then kung kinontak na sila (so we will know whom they are contacting and whether the victims are already contacted), then we will have a lead on how to entrap them," he added.

While citing that extortion has long been practiced by the NPAs, Detoyato said they would take appropriate action against politicians who would be found paying or giving in to the rebels' demands.

"But this time if we find proof of them paying or giving in to the extortion demands, we will report them to the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and sanctions will be meted to them," the AFP official said.