By Benjamin Pulta

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla (File photo)

MANILA – Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Monday assured his office will earnestly pursue the criminal charges against financers of local terrorism following the filing of charges against a local firm for violation of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10168, or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012).

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

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Task Force on Counter-Terrorism and Terrorism Financing led by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Peter Ong has 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 of RA 10168.

According to the complaint filed by the Joint Task Group Cebu, CERNET, through its finance and administrative officer, allegedly gave a former CERNET employee PHP135,000.00 sometime in September 2012, 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 (SEF) of the New People’s Army (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 PHP 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 PHP135,000.00 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.

Remulla directed the prosecution panel to “exert (the) extra mile” to secure a conviction and “put behind bars all financiers of terrorism.”

He also issued 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.” (PNA)