CANDIDATES running in the 2022 elections who pay extortion money called “permit to campaign fees” to the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's' Army (CPP-NPA-NDF) will be disqualified.

This was the warning made by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

In a statement, Año said Memorandum Circular 2019-26 calls this modus operandi a "clear form of extortion and defilement of the sanctity of the right to suffrage."

He said the communists would just use the money to sow terror in the country.

DILG Undersecretary and Spokesman Jonathan Malaya said supporting communist terrorist groups through financing or other means was an election offense and the DILG would file disqualification cases against candidates proven to have supported and cooperated with the CPP/NPA/NDF.

Under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, the crime of financing tourism is punishable by permanent disqualification to hold public office with imprisonment of one to six years, Malaya said.

Año also warned local officials not to give directly or indirectly financial, material or political support to the CPP-NPA since this is against the law.

Instead, he urged local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure that all candidates get unhampered entrance to LGUs, and safe passage, especially in areas considered hotspots for insurgency.

In the 2016 polls, 349 local government officials were found to have ties or supported the CPP-NPA through extortion money, the DILG said.

In the 2019 elections, however, only 63 local officials were reported to have supported the CPP/NPA, and these are now being monitored by the PNP, Malaya said.

Those found guilty under Republic Act 10168 or “The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012” face the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua and a fine of P500,000 to P1 million. (CTL with PR)