DOJ indicts 4 nuns, 12 others for alleged fund-raising for CPP-NPA
(Photo courtesy of Patrickroque1 / Wikipedia)
Probable cause has been found to indict four nuns and 11 others for allegedly soliciting funds intended to finance the terrorist activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
This was announced by the Department of Justice in a statement, saying 55 counts for violation of Section 8 (ii) of Republic Act 10168, or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, as amended, were filed on Monday before the Regional Trial Court of Iligan City against the respondents who are mostly officers and staff of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region.
The said provision states that: “Any person who, not being an accomplice under Section 6 or accessory under Section 7 in relation to any property or fund… makes available any property or funds, or financial services or other related services to a designated and/or identified person, organization, association, or group of persons, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (Php500,000.00) nor more than One million pesos (Php1,000,000.00).”
The CPP-NPA has been designated a terrorist organization by the Philippine government, the United States Department of State and the European Union.
The respondents were identified as Sister Emma Teresita Cupin, Sister Susan Dejolde, Sister Augustina Juntilla, Sister MaryJane Caspillo, Fatima Napoles Somogod, Melissa Amado Comiso, Czarina Gold Selim Musni, Maridel Solomon Fano, Jhona Ignilan Stokes, Hanelyn Caibigan Cespedes, Angelie Magdua, Emilio Gabales, Mary Louise Dumas, Aileen Manipol Villarosa, Evelyn Lumas Naguio and Aldeem Abroguena Yañez.
The DOJ dismissed the complaint against Edgardo Naguio for insufficiency of evidence.
DOJ spokesman Jose Dominic Clavano said no bail was recommended for the respondents.
He also said the respondents failed to submit their respective counter-affidavits during the preliminary investigation, prompting the DOJ to resolve the case based solely on the complaint filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and the witnesses and documentary evidence it presented.
Clavano said the case stemmed from revelations made by several former communist rebels about the alleged illegal fund-raising activities of the respondents in support of the CPP-NPA.
On the basis of the sworn statements of two former members of the CPP-NPA, the AMLC inquired into the bank accounts of the RMP-NMR with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).
The AMLC directed BPI to freeze the bank accounts for 20 days, which was later extended to six months by the Court of Appeals upon finding that the bank accounts were related to the financing of terrorism and/or they were being utilized as a conduit to facilitate the commission of financing of terrorism.
One of the witnesses claimed to be a finance officer of various CPP-NPA non-government organization fronts, including the RMP/RMP-NMR. According to the affidavit of this witness, the RMP/RMP-NMR, through its officers and staff, would prepare project proposals to be presented to foreign funders. Once the proposed projects were approved, these foreign funders would wire money to the bank accounts of the RMP/RMP-NMR.
Upon receipt of the money, the RMP/RMP-NMR would allot 40 percent of the money to proposed projects, and 60 percent would be channeled to the CPP-NPA to support the purchase of firearms, ammunition, etc.
The DOJ said Musni, Fano, Dumas and Villarosa are members of the CPP-NPA who were made the payees in several checks issued by Somogod, Musni and Fano under the RMP/RMP-NMR’s BPI account.
Cashiers Cespedes and Magdua then distributed the funds according to the 60-40 scheme upon orders of Gabales.
“Cespedes provided the 60 percent to Fano by issuing checks. Fano gave funds to Yañez, who is one of the officers of NCMRC (North Central Mindanao Regional Committee), CPP-NPA,” the DOJ said.
Cupin, Dejolde and Comiso are president, secretary and finance officer, respectively, of RMP-NMR, according to the DOJ. Caspillo and Juntilla, meanwhile, who are allegedly members of the board of trustees, are responsible for the operations of the RMP/RMP-NMR.
“They authorized Musni, Fano, Somogod and Stokes to issue checks under the RMP/RMP-NMR’s bank accounts to be received by Dumas, Villarosa, Evelyn Naguio and Yañez, who are members of the NCMRC, CPP-NPA,” said the DOJ.
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