THE Abu Sayyaf and the New People’s Army were effectively prevented by security forces in Mindanao during the national and local elections last Monday from staging any atrocities as they had done in past elections, Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde told the Journal Group yesterday.
“Actually, it’s very remarkable, There were no kidnappings perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao and the NPAs also did not make any move. I think that our very long preparations really paid off,” the PNP chief said.
Previous national and local elections saw the ASG committing atrocities like shooting incidents, ballot-snatching, arson attacks and kidnappings in Mindanao. NPA rebels were also accused of committing unlawful acts and even serving as armed goons of some rogue politicians in past elections in some parts of Visayas and Mindanao.
However, Gen. Albayalde said that they are checking reports that some local candidates indeed paid so-called permit-to-campaign fees to the NPA. PNP Deputy Director for Intelligence, Brigadier General Ferdinand O. Divina said they received reports that some politicians who campaigned in known NPA-affected barangays in the country made “contributions” to the rebels.
The PNP chief said that the imposition of martial law in Mindanao also greatly helped in keeping peace and order in the region where police presence was beefed-up by thousands of Armed Forces personnel tasked to implement the martial rule imposed by President Duterte two years ago in the aftermath of the Marawi siege.