THE military on Wednesday tagged three rebels as main recipients of "permit to campaign" (PTC) extortion money during this election period.
In a forum, 1003rd Infantry Brigade deputy commander Colonel Domingo Tutaan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) revealed information they got from their informants who are former Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) rebels.
"The amount of PTC fees the CPP/NPA/NDF will be extorted in the Davao Region area will be delivered or turned over to: Menandro Villanueva, the head of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, Ariel Badiang alias Ponce/Delon, head of their Regional Operations Command, and for Davao City, to the infamous Leoncio Pitao alias Parago," Tutaan said at Philippine Information Agency-Davao Region office.
Tutaan said during the last three election periods, the local terrorists extorted from political aspirants nationwide an estimated total amount of $46 million dollars or some P2 billion pesos.
"These came from the schemes known as the (PTC) and the "permit to win" or PTW," Turaan said.
"They demand the PTC fees from political candidates in order for them to campaign in affected or influenced areas. They usually release the PTC depending on the position a candidate is running for. To make this work, they utilize the NPA units in the collection of these PTC fees. From candidates belonging to a non-affiliated party-list group, the Party extorts a minimum of P50,000.00. For the other elective positions, they impose PTC fees corresponding to 5 to 15 percent of the candidate’s campaign funds," Tutaan said.
The PTC, Tutaan said, assures candidates of victory through command votes and mass votes.
"The party assures the candidates that he or she will win the elections through the command votes that are generated from the members of organized masses of basic mass associations and party organizations in the area thru the NPA. While the mass votes come from the members and supporters of CPP/NPA/NDF affiliated front organizations. Later on, they would ask for concessions from the candidate that wins. Now to be sure on who will win, they demand this PTW fee from all candidates without them knowing it. The Party extorts PTC fees based on the position the candidates are vying for," Tutaan said.
During the forum, Tutaan spoke to information officers of government offices in the region that part of the contingency plans of the AFP is to raise public awareness on the communist rebels’ plans this election period. (Jade C. Zaldivar)