[UPDATED] The government’s freeze order of a National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant’s bank accounts is a pathetic move that failed to touch his real treasures, his family said.
Xandra Liza Bisenio, daughter of jailed NDFP consultant Rey Claro Casambre, said their family’s real assets and their most valued possessions cannot be found in her father’s modest bank accounts the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) recently ordered frozen.
“Freezing my father’s and others’ almost negligible accounts purportedly to cripple the communist movement is pathetic. Instead, it has deprived my elderly parents of their funds for essential needs, magnified the crisis of the pandemic, and is bringing anxiety to our family and friends,” Bisenio said in a forum marking the first anniversary of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 last July 3.
Bisenio said they managed to get copies of official bank documents last June 16 that confirmed Casambre’s bank accounts have been frozen in accordance with ATC Resolution 17 and AMLC Resolution TF-40 (2021).
“We had felt the adverse impact of this action a month earlier, even before the announcement of the designation (of Casambre and others as so-called terrorists). We attempted, as was usual, to withdraw cash from Mr. Casambre’s ATM account to pay for some groceries, and got the message: ‘The account does not exist,’” Bisenio said.
She added that Casambre’s bank accounts are modest and do not deserve suspicion and subsequent closure.
Bisenio said Casambre’s bank deposits are no more than accumulated savings from allowances as executive director of the Philippine Peace Center and wife Cora’s income as researcher-translator.
She however said her parents’ modest monetary assets are not their family’s source of joy, security and peace of mind.
“They lie in our lifetime commitment to serve the common good, in solidarity with the downtrodden who are the real giants and heroes in this world. Intangible yet real and vibrant, these treasures are inextricably embedded in our minds, beyond the reach of any state entity, and silently but fiercely ablaze in our hearts, which no statute can ever freeze,” she said.
Rey Claro and Cora were arrested while on their way home to Cavite in December 2018 and were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, a standard case slapped against arrested activists by the police and military.
The prosecutor however found the charges “preposterous” that paved the way for Cora’s early release but Rey Claro remains in jail for separate murder and attempted murder charges of allegedly participating in a New People’s Army ambush in Lupon, Davao Oriental in September 2018.
Casambre’s bank accounts have been frozen after fellow NDFP consultant Vicente Ladlad’s two Landbank accounts have been closed in May this year. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
[ERRATUM: The original version of this report erroneously said the Casambre family publicly asked for the unfreezing of their bank accounts. They made no such claim in their statement, hence this corrected version. The reporter apologizes.]