“Actually, yung politician pag alam natin na nagbibigay sa kaaway ng gobyerno, bakit natin iboboto? Baka ipamigay lahat ng resources natin. So that is a signal for us citizens na huwag natin silang iboto,” Purisima told reporters in a chance interview following a press conference at PNP headquarters in Camp Crame.
The Department of Interior and Local Government also called on candidates to refrain from giving in to demands of rebel groups, particularly the National People’s Army, which has been known to extort what are called “permit to campaign” and “permit to win” fees from candidates.
“Patuloy na mungkahi namin na huwag magbigay ng pera o kahit anong halaga dahil ito’y magpapalakas lang sa mga grupong ito, at maaring ipangbili pa nila ng bala ang perang makukuha para gamitin against government forces,” Interior Secretary Mar Roxas II said in the press conference.
A Visayas-based army general on Sunday said that half of the candidates in his area have given in to the NPA’s extortion demands.
However, Purisima admitted that legally the hands of the PNP are tied, as there is no case to be filed against those who willingly give protection money to rebel groups.
“Hindi kasi kaso yung pagbibigay. Ang kaso, pag magreklamo sila ng extortion,” Purisima said.
Roxas also assured candidates that the DILG continues to work towards the protection of all candidates, particularly in provinces with a known NPA presence.
“Bukas kami sa pakikipag-ugnayan. Kung kailangan ng route security, area security, tinutugunan naman ito ng PNP,” Roxas said.
Meanwhile, Roxas also reiterated that while they discourage candidates from giving protection money to the NPA, the DILG remains open to negotiation and possible peace talks, to be brokered by the Office of the Presidential Adviser to the Peace Process.
“Dun sa peace talks, you will have to refer to [Secretary] Ging Deles. Pero ang alam ko, patuloy ito on multiple levels,” Roxas said.
He added, however, that should the need arise, the PNP will also be ready to neutralize NPA forces.
“Sa PNP, handang magbigay serbisyo. Kung kailangan silang tugisin, handa ang PNP. Kung nangangailangan magkaroon ng pangungusap, handa rin kami,” he said. — BM, GMA News