The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Legal Cooperation Cluster (LCC) on Wednesday hailed the conviction of a cashier of a non- government organization (NGO) on terrorism financing charges as a victory of justice. “Justice has prevailed once again. A member of a supposed religious group posing as ‘human rights defenders’ was convicted in a landmark case for supporting and financing communist terrorism,” the NTF-ELCAC LCC said in a statement.
The body was referring to the March 27 statement of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla
when he announced the first conviction under Republic Act 10168 or the “Terrorism Financing and Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012. ” Angeline Magdua, one of the two cashiers of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) Northern Mindanao, was convicted by the Iligan City Regional Trial Court (RTC) on 55 counts of violating Section 7 of Republic Act 10168, which penalizes an accessory to the crime of financing terrorists.
“Magdua was found guilty of receiving donations from unsuspecting foreign organizations and
distributing these funds to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army
(CPP-NPA) or the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs). This legal victory is another testament
that the State, its people, and the entire officialdom of this Republic, is triumphant and resolute
in its campaign to end the local communist armed conflict,” the NTF-ELCAC LCC said. It added that this conviction would surely serve as a template and foundation for future prosecutions under RA 10168.
Founded in August 1969, the RMP was established as an NGO and mission partner of the
Association of Major Religious Superiors, with the supposed goal of “uplifting marginalized
communities through various initiatives such as education, health services, and community
“Nothing is further from the truth. Based on witnesses and (a) plethora of evidence, it was proven by proof beyond reasonable doubt that RMP indeed received donations from foreign organizations to finance the operations of the CPP-NPA. Truly, this RMP allegedly composed of priests/nuns and laypersons has been as nothing but false prophets and ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing, using religion as a ruse and cover to finance terrorism, murder, and bloodshed,” & the NTF-ELCAC LCC pointed out.
It also added that the RMP is the same “religious organization whose member, specifically Sister Elenita Belardo, a nun, along with Cristina Palabay of Karapatan and eight others were charged with the crime of perjury before Branch 139 of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City.” “Pieces of evidence were offered in court proving that Sister Elenita Belardo, along with her nine co-accused, lied under oath in asserting that RMP is duly registered before the Securities and
Exchange Commission. The case is now pending before the RTC of Quezon City,” the body stressed.
It added that Magdua’s conviction sends a resounding message to those who are still obstinately
allowing themselves to be exploited by the insurgents. “Those who aid the CTGs, either providing for material support or facilitating the collection and distribution of resources, like Ms. Magdua, are instrumental to the sorrowful situation of our people where CTGs are wreaking havoc due to lack of socio-economic development, to the death of a four-month infant in Bukidnon, and to the summary execution of Absalon in Masbate, among others, ” the NTF-ELCAC noted.
It also said that Magdua’s conviction is another grim reminder and warning to legislators to not
be deceived by House Bill 77 or the “Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill,” which would
provide legal cover and sanctuaries for communist terrorists and/or their financers, such as RMP
under the guise of being “human rights defenders” but are murderous terrorists in reality.
“Hence, the NTF-ELCAC, through the LCC, enjoins the entire nation to help in curtailing the in- flow of resources to the CTGs to hasten their members’ surrender. This serves as a warning that
the Republic will never allow the use of religion as a means to advance lawlessness and killings
in the pursuit of communist terrorism, and will work tirelessly to put behind bars each and every
financier of terrorism, ” it added.
No reason to celebrate NPA founding anniversary
Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar on Wednesday said the dwindling numbers of the insurgents is hardly a reason for the NPA to celebrate its 54th founding anniversary. “Communist insurgency is near its end. With few remaining of its hardcores and deceived supporters, the CPP could hardly find a reason to celebrate the 54th founding anniversary of NPA. Let us pray that there will be no more 55th (year) to think about as we continue to apply a holistic approach in addressing insurgency issues from where they are coming from, ” he added.
The NPA was established on March 29, 1969 as the armed wing of the CPP. “The most difficult challenge and a bitter pill to swallow is the realization of the CPP of its irrelevance in the life of the Filipino people. As a consolation, the party can partly take credit in making the government realize its shortfalls in governance, particularly in the delivery of basic services, and in pushing it to do more and serve its people better, ” Aguilar said. He advised the CPP to abandon armed struggle and disband the NPA and submit to the will of the Filipino people who are looking forward to unity, peace and progress.
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