AFP shrugs off Sison’s claim on NPA extortion

MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has doubted the claim of Communist Party of the Philippines(CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison that he and other ranking leaders of the rebel movement do not benefit from the extortion rackets being enforced by the New People’s Army (NPA).

AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año said Wednesday the CPP chair is expected to deny this vehemently.

“He will definitely disavow that because he is a liar. A master deceiver; a criminal. Only someone with such a vicious mind can hatch and execute a plan like the bombing of Plaza Miranda (which took place in Aug. 21, 1971) that caused the death and wounding of several innocent people,” the AFP chief stressed.

“Mr. Sison and other top leaders of the CPP-NPA will deny taking lion-share of the extortion money they exact from plantation owners, contractors, and business persons,” he added.

He added that the entire military, along with the rest of the nation, will be very surprised if Sison will admit to taking his share in the rebels’ extortion scheme, adding such illegal activities have no paper or money trails which can implicate the CPP founder and his cohorts.

“The local New People’s Army tasked to do the collection of “revolutionary tax” that resents that iniquitous sharing is likely to deny that Mr. Sison and other CPP-NPA honchos derive monetary benefits. They all are guilty of extortion, grave coercion, destructive arsons, and kidnapping,” Año pointed out.

The AFP chief also emphasized that Sison and his group has long since traded their ideology for money; principles for perks; cause for benefits.

“Their group has become a big burden to business and employment opportunities for the people. They should stop their false pretenses of being pro-people and pro-progress. Because they are in fact the anti-thesis to peace and development for the people,” he pointed out.

Earlier, the CPP founder said taxes collected by the NPA were voluntarily given by their supporters and these are used for social and economic programs for the people and maintenance of their fighting force.

Sison also said he gets nothing from this even as he stressed that his living and medical expenses in The Netherlands are provided by Dutch charitable organizations, his friends and relatives. Priam Nepomuceno/