CHRISTMAS won’t be merry for members of Partisan Armed Groups (PAGs) and guns-for-hire who are now being targeted for neutralization by the Philippine National Police as part of their massive effort to ensure the holding of peaceful and orderly 2019 mid-term elections in May next year, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
This after PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde ordered his men to further step up their crackdown against PAGs, guns-for-hire and loose firearms and stop possible politically-motivated killings usually being undertaken by goons of politicians.
The PNP chief made the statement as he presided a command conference attended by members of the PNP Command Group, the PNP Directorial Staff, all 17 Police Regional Directors and all Directors of PNP National Support Units in Camp Crame.
Discussed during the conference were the review of the activities and results of PNP operations during the third quarter of the year the operational thrusts and administrative programs for the fourth quarter and onwards to the remaining months of 2018; and early preparations to assume election duty in the forthcoming five-month election period for the 2019 midterm elections that will commence on January 13 until June 12, 2019.
“As a proactive move against politically-motivated violence that may erupt ahead of the filing of certificates of candidacy and the election season, I have directed anew all Police Regional Offices and National Support Units to go “hammer and tongs” in aggressive interdiction operations against private armed groups, gun-for-hire syndicates and its criminal support systems, that historically mar the peaceful holding of credible and fair elections,” Gen. Albayalde said.
At the same time, the PNP chief announced significant results of their investigation in 13 out of 18 slay cases involving local elective officials wherein police have made several arrests and filed criminal charges against suspects in 11 of the cases which have been declared as solved and had filed charges against the suspects in two other cases which were described as cleared.
“The investigations are underway, coordinated at the national level by the National Investigation Task Group (NITG) chaired by the DIDM in five more cases of violent attacks on local officials, including the latest attack in La Union. I am optimistic that with all security measures in place we can look forward to peaceful and fair elections in 2019,” Gen. Albayalde said.
NITG chief Director Elmo Francis O. Sarona said Gen. Albayalde is very much concerned over the recent killing of a local chief executive in the countryside and would want justice to be served to the victims and their families immediately.
Police have solved 11 cases of murdered local chief executives since July 2016 and have established that they were triggered by various motives including politics.
Journal Group sources said that politics is being eyed as the primary motive behind the assassination of Supiden, La Union Mayor Alexander Boquing. Several local politicians who have an ax to grind against the mayor and his wife are being eyed in the investigation.