The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) will not turn a blind eye on groups associated with the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) who will use the elections to sow violence and disturb the peace, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Wednesday.
In a message to newsmen, Guevarra clarified that supporting a candidate is not a crime per se.
“There’s nothing unlawful for any groups associated with the CPP-NPA to support any political party or individual in the forthcoming elections. It is when they commit acts of violence to sow terror and destabilize public order in the guise of exercising their political rights that will prompt the anti-terrorism council to take action,” he said.
However, Guevarra said the Department of Justice (DOJ) “don’t have sufficient factual basis at this time to initiate an investigation.”
Extortion activities by local terror units from candidates usually pick up during election season even as anyone extending support to the communist terrorist group (CTG) will be held liable for violating the Anti-Terrorism Financing Act of 2012 and the Anti-Terror Act of 2020.
The serious offenses are non-bailable and carry a penalty of life imprisonment.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The National Democratic Front (NDF) has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)