Government prosecutors have indicted members of a religious group for alleged terrorist financing, the Justice department said in a statement on Monday.
Charged before an Iligan City court in Mindanao were 16 members of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines whom the government accused of financing activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines, based on testimonies from former rebels.
Members of the group had failed to answer the charges during a preliminary investigation, the agency said. “No defense on the part of the respondents was received by the prosecuting panel.”
The Anti-Terrorism Council has labeled the communist party a terrorist group.
In April, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal seeking to reverse its decision upholding the validity of the Anti-Terrorism law, which the Philippine Congress passed in 2020.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council has said the law would help it counter so-called dirty money.
The Rural Missionaries is a church-based group made up of Catholic priests and lay people. The group empowers farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous groups and educates them about their rights, according to its website. — John Victor D. Ordoñez