By Christine Cudis
Lawyer Emet Manantan, Anti-Money Laundering Council Deputy Director and Head of the Financial Crime Investigation Group (Screengrab from RTVM)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency)– The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has discovered at least 18 foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have been financing the operations of local communist terrorist groups (CTGs).
This, according to lawyer Emet Manantan, AMLC Deputy Director and Head of the Financial Crime Investigation Group, during a recent virtual briefing of the National Task Force To End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
“Nakita po namin dito mga euros and US dollars po na pumapasok dito (The currencies deposited in their accounts are in euros and US dollars). May nakita kaming (We found) 440,000 euros (about PHP26 million) in their remittances,” he said, adding that they validated the information with counterparts from intelligence agencies. =
The transactions, Manantan said, exceeded the threshold amount.
“These were intelligence information which was shared already to our counterparts and these 18 were validated as existing transactions,” he added. “There is money in terrorism, very huge in fact. And it’s very unfortunate that probably with or without the knowledge of the donors, their donations go to these (terroristic) schemes.”
Four cases were already filed against local NGOs funneling financial assistance to CTGs — the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
The AMLC also froze a total of PHP5 million and about PHP17 million worth of assets of communist terrorist groups.
Manantan added that they are going after local terrorist groups’ assets that include 126 hectares of land and eight vehicles, among others.
He said law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and witnesses proved vital in monitoring dubious transactions.
Once, the agency took in as witness a former CTG finance officer, who shared that they allocate funds from overseas “60-40”.
He said 60 percent will go to the armed groups while the 40 percent will be for officials.
“The 60 percent of that fund would be distributed to the regional party committees, to their front guerilla units,” NICA Director-General Alex Monteagudo said.
He said corruption also happens among CTG officials.
“This is one of the reasons why some of the former rebels surrendered. One of our witnesses’ testimonies was how officers eat lavishly while they almost have nothing and they are the ones who do face-to-face extortion,” he added.
As the cases are already in court, Manantan said the public should be aware of the real intentions of terrorist groups.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
In July, the Anti-Terrorism Council officially designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist group. (PNA)