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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

DOJ files terrorism financing vs CERNET officials

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The Department of Justice has filed criminal charges before the Cebu Regional Trial Court Branch 74 against Community Empowerment Resource Network, Inc. (CERNET) and its council, board of trustees members, and officers for alleged terrorism financing.

The DOJ through Task Force on Counter-Terrorism and Terrorism Financing led by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Peter Ong said it found probable cause to hold CERNET officials criminally liable for violation of Section 8(ii), in relation to Section 9, Republic Act (RA) 10168, also known as The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.   

Probers found that sometime in September 2012, CERNET through its finance and administrative officer gave a witness who was a former CERNET employee P135,000 to be delivered in Dumaguete City for the logistical support purportedly for food provision, armaments, ammunitions, firearms, medical supplies, and other operational requirements of the South Eastern Front of the New People’s Army (NPA).

The DOJ said CERNET 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 P135,000 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,'” the task force resolution said.

“Considering that the P135,000 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,” it added.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla called on the “modern-day peacekeepers” to secure convictions against terrorism financiers.

“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.

“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,” he added.

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