EXILED Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP) founder Jose Maria Sison receives up to almost P400-million bank remittances a year from money allegedly extorted from construction firms and telecommunications companies, a former leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) claimed.

Jeffrey Celiz PHOTO FROM THE SENATE PUBLIC RELATIONS AND INFORMATION BUREAU

Jeffrey Celis, alias Ka Erik, made the disclosure on Tuesday during the hybrid hearing of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security on the alleged red-tagging and red-baiting of certain celebrities, personalities, institutions and organizations.

Celis said the CPP, through its armed group, the NPA, demands 2-percent profit from private contractors involved in airport, port and other infrastructure projects.

The CPP-NPA also extorts money from telecommunications companies Globe and Smart.

He said about 50 percent of the total extorted money remitted to the central committee of the CCP were sent to Sison in The Netherlands.

He said the money was “collected” by the NPA and remitted to Sison. Forty-percent of the “collection” stays at the local level while 60 percent is sent to the central committee in The Netherlands.

Celis claimed the CPP and managed to circumvent the Anti Money Laundering Act (AMLA) through conduit nongovernment organizations (NGOs) in Europe.

“They cannot overthrow the government, but they can make Smart, Globe pay P200 million every year. They can make P200 million, P400 million from [their] NGO racket,” he testified.

Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd said this could be the reason why telecommunications service providers or telcos prefer to install cell sites inside military camps.

“Perhaps those who are asking will now understand why telcos want to install their sites inside military camps. If not inside the military camps, their sites will be bombed, burned or destroyed if they don’t pay. That’s the answer and not because China wants to monitor the military,” Sotto said.

The Senate chief also voiced his dismay over the recruitment of minors by left-wing organizations.

A former NPA rebel, Lady Desiree Miranda, who also attended the hearing claimed that she

was raped repeatedly by fellow NPA rebels.

Sotto asked Celis on the age bracket of recruits and if rape and similar abuses against child soldiers are common.

Celiz said children in rural areas are influenced as early as six years old, and youth aged 16 to 17 are recruited.

“We usually give the death sentence if they rape women but not when the culprit is a high-ranking officer,” Celiz told Sotto.

Not a policy

Meanwhile, security officials maintained that red-tagging or red baiting have “no factual basis” and cannot be attributed to any past or current government policy or program against communist insurgency.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, and National Security Adviser Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. attended the Senate virtual public hearing on the issue of red tagging.

They denied accusations that they red-tagged the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan).

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the hearing aimed to craft guidelines “to prevent any misunderstanding between the public and our law enforcers and ultimately, to ensure the protection of the constitutional rights of the people in general.”

“When no distinction has been made between an activist and a terrorist; an idealist and an extremist; a reformist and a subversive, we risk putting everyone under a cloud of suspicion; and our society in a constant state of security,” Lacson said.