Go the extra mile in going after financiers of terrorism,
Remulla tells prosecutors

20 May 2024

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Task Force on Counter-Terrorism and Terrorism Financing led by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Peter Ong filed criminal charges before the Cebu Regional Trial Court Branch 74 against Community Empowerment Resource Network, Inc. (CERNET) and its Council, members of its board of trustees and officers, for violation of Section 8(ii), in relation to Section 9, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10168, otherwise known as The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012).

In a Resolution dated 08 May 2024, the Task Force resolved the complaint filed by the Joint Task Group Cebu, 3rd Infantry Division against CERNET, et al for terrorism financing.

It may be recalled that sometime in September 2012, CERNET through its Finance and Administrative Officer gave a witness who was a former CERNET employee P135,000.00 to be delivered in Dumaguete City for the logistical support (food provision, armaments, ammunitions, firearms, medical supplies and other operational requirements) of the South Eastern Front of the New People’s Army (NPA).

CERNET, a consortium of various organizations, contrary to its primary purposes of supporting development initiatives aimed at community development, empowerment and self-reliance, specific, short-term and small-scale development projects and enabling partner organizations to respond quickly and with flexibility to urgent needs and requests, caused the delivery of funds to the NPA.

After a judicious evaluation of the evidence at hand, the Task Force found probable cause against the respondents as charged. CERNET’S act of giving 135,000 cash to the NPA South Eastern Front is undeniably an act of “making available funds to a designated terrorist organization, hence, punishable under Section 8(ii) of R.A. No. 10168,” said the Resolution.

“Considering that the P135,000.00 given to the SEF of the NPA belongs to CERNET, Section 9 of RA No. 10168 finds application in this case. Since CERNET is a juridical person the penalty imposed under Section 8(ii) shall be imposed upon its responsible officers who allowed, by their gross negligence the commission of the crime or who failed to prevent its commission,” added the Resolution.

“We will never stop running after terrorists who continue to sow fear among our communities, you have no place in our society,” Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla said.

“To the prosecution panel headed by SDSP Ong together with his team Prosecution Attorneys Ruth Anne P. Zamora and Lyra Carissa M. Profugo, exert extra mile to put behind bars all financiers of terrorism,” Remulla said.

"Secure conviction, this will not be possible if not for your hard work, you are the modern-day peacekeepers of our Bagong Pilipinas!" Sec. Remulla stressed.

"This serves as a very serious warning to those who continue to aid or support terrorism in any way, you will face extreme consequences as harsh as those met by the terrorists themselves. Either you are with us in safeguarding the welfare of our children and future generations or none at all, the choice is up to you," the Secretary added.

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