More cops deployed to secure May polls

PHILIPPINE National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group director Major General Amador V. Corpus yesterday ordered the deployment of more police officers across the country to help local government 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 May 13 national and local elections.

“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,” Corpus said.

He cited an incident in Barangay Budac in Tayum, Abra last April 23 when 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 investigation of the incident considering it involved political rivals.

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 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  in possession of illegal guns 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 and to not support nor patronize any political party or specific political candidate.

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  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.