WITH barely 11 weeks before the May 13 national and local elections, the Philippine National Police is further stepping-up its campaign against partisan armed groups, loose firearms and organized gangs nationwide in line with its effort to ensure that the mid-term polls will be as honest, orderly and peaceful as possible.
Last week, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año directed the PNP headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde to also strictly monitor politicians and candidates in the May 13 elections believed to be ‘sleeping with the enemies’ specifically the New People’s Army.
The DILG directed the PNP to mount an unrelenting drive versus PAGs, unauthorized firearms and bodyguards and organized crime gangs after noting the surge of killings of politicians in recent months which appears to be politically-motivated.
Since last year, Gen. Albayalde has ordered all 17 Police Regional Offices as well as the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the PNP Intelligence Group to help stop politically-motivated killings blamed on rogue politicians and their henchmen by mounting a campaign against identified members of partisan armed groups and guns-for-hire in the country, the Journal Group learned.
Gen. Albayalde and his Command Group and Directorial Staff are regularly reviewing the activities and results of PNP operations in 2018 compared to the 2017 figures as well as situation and risk factors on the mid-term polls compared to the 2016 presidential and national elections.
Late last year, the PNP chief announced significant results of their investigation in 13 out 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 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 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.
As of the latest, 14 out of 19 cases of politicians, mostly local chief executives murdered since 2016 have been solved by the PNP further bolstering the police’s capability to crack down even the most uncrackable case, the Journal Group learned.
Latest to be solved by the police is the case of slain AKO Bicol Party-List Representative Rodel Batocabe and his policeman-bodyguard last December 22. Twelve days after the daring attack which also wounded 7 senior citizens, Gen. Albayalde declared that ‘the ‘case is solved but not closed’ following the identification of Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwin Baldo as the ‘brains’ behind the killing.
Gen. Albayalde said six prime suspects and a key witness in the Batocabe-Diaz killing are now in police custody after 2 more yielded to authorities last week. The PNP chief reported the surrender of Rolando Arimado alias ‘RR’ and Danilo Muella alias ‘Manoy Dan’ in Bicol.