Thursday, October 24, 2013

AFP, PNP intensify campaign vs threat groups in barangay elections

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 24): AFP, PNP intensify campaign vs threat groups in barangay elections

Authorities on Thursday intensified its campaign against on threat groups which could be used by candidates for violence and election-cheating purposes during the barangay elections.

In a PNP-AFP-Comelec joint press conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said they have been also receiving reports that threat groups like the New People’s Army (NPA) are also extorting money from barangay candidates.

Tutaan said all the assets and personnel of the military are on standby for election duties.

“Based on law, we can be deputized by the Comelec for election duties and this means that all our resources can be tapped for the coming barangay elections. We just don’t have the specifics because the specifics of the operations depend on the arrangement of officials on the ground,” he explained.

The police intelligence community earlier revealed that there are 25 Partisan Armed Groups actively operating for the barangay elections, most of them are in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

For his part, Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP-PIO chief said that the authorities are also monitoring the fielding of candidates of threat groups.

Sindac said they will be deploying 50 percent of the personnel assigned to do desk works on the day of the elections to augment the police and military personnel assigned to perform election duties.

Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Wilben Mayor, PNP spokesman, said they have already recorded 30 cases of election-related violent incidents since September 28.

Mayor said that the figure is higher on the 25 cases reported at the span of the election period during the 2010 barangay elections.

He said a total of 22 people, including candidates, incumbent and civilians, died while 24 others were wounded.

Mayor said that as of 7:56 a.m. Thursday, 509 persons, mostly civilians, have been arrested for allegedly violating the Commission on Elections gun ban rule.

Of the total number, 475 were civilians, five police officers, four military men, four government officials, and 19 security guards.

He also said that 412 firearms and 3,153 ammunition were recovered, along with 18 firearms replica, 170 bladed weapons, 65 grenades, and 221 other explosives.

The gun ban is being implemented by the PNP and other law enforcement agencies for the barangay election period from September 28 to November 12, which is 30 days before, and 15 days after the October 28 village elections.

“[PNP chief], Police Director General Alan Purisima, assures that the PNP will remain vigilant in its law enforcement and security operations to ensure Safe and Fair Elections,” Mayor said.

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