16 individuals, including four nuns, have been charged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly financing the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), reported CNN Philippines on Tuesday (August 16).
This follows an investigation by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) into the bank accounts of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RPM), of which the 16 are members.
The AMLC cited witnesses that claimed the RPM is "related to the financing of terrorism and/or they are utilized as a conduit to facilitate the commission of financing terrorism,”
It is said that the RPM proposes projects to foreign funders who send money to the organization once proposals are approved, but only 40 per cent of the fund is allocated for each project.
There was probable cause to indict 16 persons, "for making funds available to the [Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army]," according to the DOJ.
The 16 are alleged to have violated Section 8 of the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, which is punishable by 40 years imprisonment and a P500,000-1,000,000 fine.
The individuals indicted are Mary Louise Dumas, Maridel Solomon Fano, Hanelyn Caibigan Cespedes, Emilio Gabales, Ma. Fatima Napoles Somogod, Evelyn Lumapas Naguio, Jhona Ignilan Stokes, Melissa Amado Comiso, Aldeem Abroguena Yanez, Aileen Manipol Villarosa, Czarina Gold Selim Musni, Angelie Magdua, Sister Augustina Juntilla, Sister Maryjane Caspillo, Sister Emma Teresita Cupin and Sister Susan Dejolde.
The RPM website says it is an inter-congregational and inter-diocesan order composed of priests and lay persons who "live and work with the peasants (farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples and agricultural workers)."
No bail is recommended for the case that was filed before a regional trial court in Iligan City.
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