Police urge candidates to report extortion demands
by Rachelle M. Nessia
Dumaguete City (18 February) -- Provincial Police Chief Sr. Superintendent Augusto Marquez Jr. has urged local electoral candidates to immediately report to the police any extortion schemes from rebel groups seeking payment as "application for permits to campaign."
Marquez, speaking during the recent Peace Covenant Signing attended by around 100 local electoral candidates, said that the police will take the necessary operations to entrap extortionists.
The police has recently arrested a suspected NPA rebel who claimed to be delivering demand letters to local candidates for their "application for permits to campaign."
Marquez disclosed that through efforts of local executives and police in Dauin, they arrested Florencio Quiño pursuant to two warrants of arrest for illegal possession of firearms and murder issued by RTC Branch 3 in Tagbilaran City.
When asked about his presence in Dauin, Quiño reportedly told police that he was in an NPA mission to deliver demand letters to candidates here for their "application for permits to campaign."
The police chief described the fee being demanded in said extortion as "enormous."
When asked by media if candidates who succumb to the extortion demands will also be held liable, Marquez said they are considered victims as they are under duress or under threat. "No candidate in his right mind would want to pay a large amount of money to an illegitimate group in order for them to campaign," he stressed.
Marquez assured that the Philippine National Police will remain neutral in the coming elections. "Our job first and foremost is to ensure an honest, orderly and violent-free elections," he added. (PIA/rmn) [top]