Police visibility could have prevented Batocabe killing – PNP chief
MANILA, Philippines — Attacks — like the killing of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his police aide, SPO1 Orlando Diaz – could have been prevented with higher police visibility, according to Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
That’s why he’s directing police officers to secure events involving politicians — with or without their request.
“Of course ‘yong visibility natin napaka-importante. Kagaya noon, naiwasan sana natin ‘yon kung during the time na nandoon at marami talagang tao,” Albayalde said in a press briefing after a gift-giving program for children that he led at the Paraiso ng mga Bata in Malate, Manila.
[Of course, our visibility is very imporant. Like in that case [Batocabe’s killing], we could have avoided that if the police had been there, especially since there many people present.]
“Ito ’yong mga sinasabi natin sa mga pulis: Even without the request, kung pupunta ’yung isang kandidato, isang incumbent [official] sa isang lugar at makita naman talaga na maraming tao, it is incumbent upon the policemen to secure the area, not the person, but all the people there,” he added.
[That’s what I’m telling police officers: Even without the request, if a candidate or an incumbent official is going somewhere and there are many people there, it is incumbent upon the policemen to secure the area, not just the person, but all the people there.]
Batocabe and Diaz were gunned down last Saturday, Dec. 22, by six unidentified assailants after attending a charity event in Barangay Burgos, Daraga.
The attack happened at around 3 p.m. — while a lot of people were still present at the area.
Just hours earlier, Joelito Talaid, a former mayor of Kadinglan town in Bukindon, was killed near the Hall of Justice in Barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City.
Several government officials denounced the brazen killings, calling for a swift resolution of the case.
Albayalde explained that police officers tend to shy away from securing political events because they fear being immediately tagged as supporters of the candidate hosting the program.
“Hindi ito electioneering,” the PNP chief explained. “Nakikiusap din tayo sa mga kandidato at saka sa mga incumbent na tumatakbo, hindi po sinasabi na kapag maraming pulis doon ay nakapanig na kaagad ang mga pulis doon.”
[This is not electioneering. We are also requesting candidates and incumbents who running for other position not to assume that police officers securing them are supporting them.]
“The police are there to protect the lives of the people, not [just] the life of the politician or the candidate himself,” he added. “Kaya kung minsan ‘yong mga pulis natin naghe-hesitate na mag-provide ng security sa mga malalaking gatherings, it’s because binibigyan ng kulay ng ibang mga kandidato.”
[Sometimes our police officers hesitate to provide security at big gathering because some candidates misinterpret their presence.] /atm
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