Four Iloilo mayors under probe for ‘supporting’ rebels

By: Jennifer P. Rendon

FOUR mayors of Iloilo province are being monitored by the police for allegedly aiding the New People’s Army (NPA)

But Police Colonel Roland Vilela, Iloilo police chief, did not disclose their identities.

“There could be four or five of them. And we’re gathering evidences against them,” he said.

Aside from mayors, the IPPO’s monitoring list also includes other elected officials such as vice mayors and Sangguniang Bayan (SB) members and even appointed government officials.

“We would like to know if they still continue supporting the rebel group,” he said.

Once they have evidence, Vilela said he will submit the names to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for proper actions.

“We want them to be stripped of their powers over the police,” he said.

Earlier, the Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 said monetary aid given to rebels is a violation of Republic Act 10168 (Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012).

The law imposes the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua and a fine of not less than P500,000 and not more than P1,000,000 to any person who provides or collects help that will be used:

(a) to carry out or facilitate the commission of any terrorist act;

(b) by a terrorist organization, association or group; or

(c) by an individual terrorist.

Vilela said supporting the NPA, in any form and means, is going against the government.

That’s why, it’s important to know who among the local chief executives (LCEs) support NPAs in any form, he said.

“NPAs continue to thrive in our community because they keep gaining support from individuals and organizations, through extortion or voluntary pledges,” Vilela said.

The Iloilo top cop said they would come up with the profile of NPA supporters in the province of Iloilo.

He said it will be frustrating if they find a mayor or any local official is on the list of benefactors of the anti-government groups, such as the CPP-NPA.

“The LCEs are pivotal in our efforts to end local communist armed conflict, but if they are supporters to this group, they would become barriers to our goal,” Vilela said.

While on this direction, Vilela hopes that no mayor patronizes the NPA.