PNP tells candidates: Use goons, be targeted
LEGAZPI CITY—The Philippine National Police in Bicol warned politicians they would be targeted by police if they hired or maintained private armies for elections in May next year.
Chief Insp. Maria Luisa Calubaquib, PNP Bicol spokesperson, said the regional police was reviewing its record of politicians who had used private armies in the past.
These politicians had also acquired unlicensed guns for use in past elections, Calubaquib said in an interview.
The PNP defines a private armed group as one composed of 20 to 30 men.
Payment to private armies ranged from P25,000 to P50,000, according to Calubaquib.
She said the review was prompted by a directive from the PNP leadership for all regional police offices to validate lists of politicians using private armies and put their names on a watch list.
The list would contain politicians’ names, the number of men in their employ as a private army and the type of firearms in their possession.
Calubaquib said results of the review would help craft a security plan for the midterm elections on May 13, 2019.
The security plan would be submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Comelec approval of the list could lead to the declaration of a town, city or province as an area of concern.
To be included in the security plan are data on political killings, private army presence, unlicensed guns and rebel presence.
These data would help regional police commands form task forces and send more men to areas where election violence is expected.
Data gathered for the PNP and Comelec in the past had led to the declaration of Masbate, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte as areas of concern.