PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday said they are continuously validating reports of active collusion by some local politicians with organized crime groups engaged in kidnapping for ransom, presumably for fund-raising purposes.
“Reports of this nature have been monitored in some parts of Mindanao particularly in known areas of operation of kidnapping gangs,” he said in a press briefing.
He did not name names however since he said there is a need to build up cases against the politicians identified in intelligence reports. “The only thing we can do is to prevent it (lawless violence) from happening,” he said.
Historically, some politicians in Mindanao have been identified for their supposed links with the Abu Sayyaf Group and other lawless elements engaged in kidnapping-for-ransom and extortion activities apart from maintaining armed groups which they use to terrorize their rivals and non-supporters.
Some politicians in Luzon and Visayas have also been affiliated with organized crime groups involved in drug trafficking and other criminal activities while at the same time maintaining private armies.
Gen. Albayalde however assured the public that the deployment of additional mobile forces in the Bicol region and Samar and in Negros provinces won’t mean the sizes of all existing police forces in these areas will be reduced.
The PNP chief said that a company of policemen composed of around 132 personnel with 4-5 officers have been sent to Bicol and Samar while a standby company form the PNP Special Action Force is already in Negros.
Those deployed are members of Regional Mobile Force Companies stationed in the said areas.
Gen. Albayalde said “we have synchronized our tiered response to Memorandum Order No. 32 issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on November 22, 2018 that reinforces the guidelines in implementing measures to suppress and prevent lawless violence, specifically in the Bicol region, and the Samar and Negros provinces, in relation to Proclamation No. 55 (Series of 2016) declaring a state of national emergency.”
“At national, regional and provincial levels, we are realigning deployment of forces according to the prevailing intelligence assessment and threat evaluation with the underlying objective to thwart any attempt by domestic threat groups to commit acts of violence in these areas,” he explained.
“We have alerted all maneuver and territorial police forces in these areas to assume an active defense posture while stepping up proactive operations to suppress lawless violence and acts of terror, and prevent these from spreading to other localities,” he added.
Last week, the PNP chief ordered all maneuver and territorial police forces in Samar and Negros islands to go on full alert to prevent acts of terror and other criminal activities by the New People’s Army and other lawless elements.