PHILIPPINE National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group director, Major General Amador V. Corpus, yesterday said he has ordered the deployment of more CIDG agents across the country to help local territorial units investigate and address the presence of partisan armed groups and loose weapons that may be used to disrupt the holding of an orderly and peaceful national and local elections next Monday.
“As the election draws near, we are deploying more people on the ground in order to eliminate, if not reduce all factors that may affect the outcome of the May 13 polls including the presence of PAGs, guns-for-hire and loose weapons,” the official said.
He cited an incident in Barangay Budac in Tayum, Abra last April 23 wherein two armed groups belonging to rival political factions were believed to have exchanged gunfire resulting in injuries on each side.
He said the CIDG Abra Provincial Field Unit is supporting the local police in investigating the incident considering it involved political rivals. The series of violent incidents in Abra has triggered the relief of the former Abra Police Provincial Office director who was transferred to the Kalinga PPO, the Journal Group learned.
Corpus denied that the CIDG is involved in any partisan political activities and protecting any candidate in the May 13 polls. “The incident in Abra is a regular police operation and is within the bounds of our legally-prescribed authority,” he said.
The official added that the Team CIDG’s only role in the Abra incident is to support the local police in investigating the case as part of his mandate as the Deputy Commander of the PNP Task Group on Legal Offensive.
Corpus said the CIDG remains steadfast in providing investigative support to all local police units across the country and will continue to apply for search warrants for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Explosives Ammunition Act of 2013 against anybody who will be found to be in possession of illegal firearms that can be used to mar the May 13 elections.
He added that being the premier investigative unit of the PNP, it is incumbent upon them to remain apolitical.
Corpus said he has instructed his 17 regional offices and the rest of the CIDG provincial field offices to keep away from politics and to dismantle PAGs and gun-for-hire groups whose members oftentimes are the main suspects in violent election-related incidents.
He added that since the start of the year, CIDG officers and men have been pro-actively joining the local police in its public safety activities including the PNP’s Ligtas Summer Vacation 2019.
The official said uniformed CIDG personnel have joined local police operatives in manning PNP Public Assistance Desks and checkpoints to thwart the presence of loose weapons and armed groups that may take advantage of the occasion to prey on the public.
Corpus said that as part of their program to support PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde’s mission to have a peaceful and orderly May 13 polls and keep criminality in check, they are also conducting their own One-Time, Big-Time (OTBT) operations focusing on the accounting of illegal guns, PAGs and other factors that may disrupt the elections especially intense partisan political rivalries and other criminal gangs and lawless elements operating in areas of concern as declared by the Commission on Elections.
Last week, both Gen. Albayalde and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año vouched for the integrity and professionalism of Corpus who lately has been the victim of black propaganda after his wife Victoria filed her candidacy for an Abra congressional post in a bid to give Abra residents a ‘fresh face’ in the local politics.
“Corpus is a professional Police Officer holding a key position. I have observed his performance and how he has led his men in solving criminal cases. He knows where he stands,” said the DILG chief of Corpus.
The PNP chief, a classmate of Corpus from PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986, said : He (Corpuz) fully knows our policy of non-partisanship, especially during elections. This is the reason why we have not received any complaint of him meddling with his wife’s political affairs in Abra. It’s just a matter of coincidence that he is the director of CIDG and his wife is running for Congress.”
As part of its apolitical stand, the PNP reshuffled over 1,300 police officers holding key positions in areas where their relatives are seeking positions in the May 13 elections.
Corpus was not among those reshuffled since he is the head of the CIDG which is a national support unit and not directly involved in any police peacekeeping efforts in Abra.
Both Sec. Año and Gen. Albayalde said Corpus was not covered by the policy since he was not specifically detailed to Abra or the Cordillera Police Regional Office in general. The two said Corpus would be automatically relieved from his post if he were the Cordillera police regional director or the Abra Provincial Police Office director when his wife filed her candidacy in Abra.
Gen. Albayalde also said that the CIDG has only about 7-10 personnel in its Abra provincial office compared to the thousands of members of the territorial police force.
Given that very small number of CIDG operative, the PNP chief expressed doubt how the CIDG director can influence the outcome of the election in Abra district in favor of his wife.