Rebels extorting money in Philippines elections: Official

May 01, 2013
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MANILA, Philippines – Leftist rebels are making millions of dollars extorting money from candidates running in the May13th elections, money they will likely use to buy weapons, an army division commander told reporters Sunday (April 28th), according to AFP.

"My estimate is that half of all political contenders are paying, half in my area. That is also true in other areas," Major General Jose Mabanta told reporters. He said the protection fee to the New People's Army (NPA) ranges from 50,000 to 5m pesos ($1,210-121,000) per person.

In all, an estimated 18,000 positions are at stake, including those of town and city mayors, provincial governors and members of parliament.

"With the amounts involved, they (NPA) will be buying arms and ammunition and these may be fired and used against them (politicians)," Mabanta said, reiterating that giving protection money to rebels is illegal.

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