Subpoena duces tecum to prove Gabriela got foreign funds: Esperon

By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. (PNA File photo)

MANILA – Lawyers of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) will petition the court for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum to prove that party-list group Gabriela or Gabriela, Inc. received funding or donation from foreign sources.


"What is now left for us to do is for our lawyers to petition for the issuance of subpoena duces tecum, so that it can be proven that in fact the accounts were received by Gabriela or Gabriela, Inc.," National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. said during Monday’s episode of "Tagged: Debunking Lies by Telling the Truth” online press briefing.


Subpoena duces tecum or subpoena for production of evidence is a court summon ordering the recipient to appear before the court and produce documents or other tangible evidence for use at a hearing or trial.


Esperon, who is also NTF-ELCAC vice-chairperson, said they will be also presenting more findings from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to show that party-list Gabriela and Gabriela, Inc. have "inter-locking bank accounts".


"We are sure that the Comelec (Commission on Elections) will evaluate this, I'm just presenting what I have presented to the Comelec itself. My task is done with (the) Comelec which means other witnesses will now be called," he said.


He added that he is confident that the Comelec will resolve this issue soon before the 2022 national elections.


"I feel confident that (the) Comelec will resolve this since there will be a registration of parties for the coming elections. We certainly pray, and I hope and I'm confident, that the Comelec will resolve this petition because, by my recollection from other reports, there are many applicants for part-ylists numbering more than a hundred. they have to resolve this," he said.


Esperon, on Aug. 12, testified before Comelec’s 2nd Division that party-list group Gabriela is receiving financial assistance and support from foreign sources that is a clear violation of the Philippine Constitution.


The testimony was relative to NTF-ELCAC’s petition for the cancellation of registration of Gabriela Women's Party (GWP) and the General Assembly of Women and Reforms (GAWR) in the party-list system.


Gabriela is short for General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership and Action, Inc.


The NTF-ELCAC petition contends that Gabriela violates Section 2, Paragraph 5, Article 9 (C) of the Philippine Constitution by receiving financial assistance from a foreign government and non-government organizations (NGOs).


Political parties found guilty of such offenses can have their registration with the Comelec canceled.


Rule 32, Section 8 (D) of the Comelec Rules of Procedure states that receiving support from any foreign government is one of the grounds for the cancellation of the registration of any political party.


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


Mazar's report showed that Gabriela, together with Ibon Foundation and Karapatan are the local partners of Viva Salud VZW., a Belgian accredited NGO.


An AMLC report shows that Viva Salud sent a remittance to Gabriela amounting to PHP1,811,867.35 on March 28, 2019, and six remittances from Intl. Fstone Ltd. of London, United Kingdom in amounts ranging from PHP1,058,392.42 to PHP2,190,628.52 from September 2015 to March 2019.


He said Gabriela, Inc, GWP, and GAWR are closely interconnected. Past representatives to Congress of GWP were Incorporator/s of Gabriela Inc. in their registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


"For example, Rep. Emerenciana De Jesus representing GWP in Congress for the period of 2016-2019 was also an Incorporator and Chairperson of Gabriela, Inc., for the period of 2013-2015," he added.


Esperon also noted that Representatives Liza Maza and Lana Linaban, all of GWP, were also Incorporators of Gabriela, Inc.


GWP used the same acronym Gabriela in its 2016 Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) submitted to the Comelec and 2014-2015 General Information Sheet (GIS) with the SEC, he added. (PNA)

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