NSA Esperon: Gabriela must be delisted for foreign fund


THE National Security Adviser has accused Gabriela Women’s Party-list group of violating the 1987 Constitution “for receiving financial assistance from foreign governments and non-government organizations.”

This was disclosed by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., as he testified before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in a recent virtual hearing on the petition to cancel the registration of the group.

But Gabriela Women’s Party immediately disputed Esperon’s allegation that it violated the country’s election laws for supposed foreign funding, saying the general produced nothing in the recent hearing to support his claim.

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has filed a petition to cancel the registration of Gabriel Women’s Party (GWP), Gabriela Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership and Action (Gabriela), Inc. and the Gabriela Assembly of Women and Reforms (GAWR) in the Comelec’s party-list system.

In a statement following his petition, Esperon said the action of these groups to receive money from any foreign government and agencies is a violation of the Section 2 paragraph 5, Article 9 of the Philippine Constitution—that “political parties which receive financial assistance from any foreign government and their agencies, can have their registration with the Comelec cancelled.”

Even Rule 2, Section 8 (D) of the Comelec Rules of Procedures lists “receiving support from any foreign government” among the grounds for the cancellation of the registration of any political party, Esperon cited.

“With the continued legal action against GWP, the NSA is exposing the party-list’s willful and deliberate circumvention of the provisions of the Constitution and Comelec rules,” Esperon said.

Esperon disclosed that Gabriela is receiving Belgian financial support, through Belgian-accredited NGOs that were subjected to external financial audit by the international accounting firm MAZARS. The latter was contracted by the Belgian government to audit or to review the Programs 2014-2016 and 2017-2021.

Citing report of the MAZARS, Esperon said Gabriela, together with the IBON Foundation and Karapatan, are the local partners of Viva Salud VZW, a Belgian accredited NGO.

He added that based on the AMLC report, Viva Salud sent remittance to Gabriela amounting to P1.811 million on March 28, 2019 and six remittances from Intl. FCSTONE Ltd. Of London, United Kingdom, amounting to P1.058 million to P2.19 million from September 2015 to March 2019.

In a separate statement, GWP Deputy Secretary General KJ Catequista said “the NTF-ELCAC vice chair’s unsubstantiated allegation that GWP and GABRIELA, Inc. are one and the same is not proof that foreign funds were transferred to GWP.”

Catequista pointed out that NTF-ELCAC’s attempt to disqualify GWP is a bid to stifle criticism of Duterte administration.

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