Religious missionary group slams charges vs members, denounces allegations of terrorist financing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) - A religious missionary group slammed what it called the government's "Marcosian attack" against 16 members who were charged for allegedly funding the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army (CPP-NPA).

In a statement released Thursday, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Inc. (RMP) denounced the attack and expressed "serious concern for the safety of those charged."

The Department of Justice indicted the 16 RMP members — including four nuns — earlier this month, saying the Anti-Money Laundering Council investigating the group's bank accounts found those involved used projects to provide financial support to the CPP-NPA.

The AMLC said they had sworn statements from two former members of the CPP-NPA who said the RPM was allegedly "related to the financing of terrorism and/or they are utilized as a conduit to facilitate the commission of financing terrorism."

The missionaries said all their projects were "well documented, reported and accounted for," adding the group complies with requirements to securing funds for projects, including audits.

They also questioned the testimonies of the witnesses, adding they had information that one of the two was presented as a former member of the NPA after her mother was arrested.

"In exchange for her mother's release, she executed a spurious statement accusing RMP members of channeling funds to the CPP-NPA," said RMP in their statement. They added that their mission to serve people in far-flung areas has been affected by these attacks.

The Palace has not responded to the RMP's statement.