Prepare for violent rivalry, police told
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has ordered all 18 regional police directors to intensify their security measures for the upcoming 2022 polls following three separate attacks on politicians.
Eleazar directed Maj. Gen. Felipe Natividad, director of the Special Action Force (SAF), to prepare his men for possible deployment in areas where intense political rivalry and history of election-related violent incidents would be monitored.
“I have ordered the regional directors to conduct target-hardening measures and security adjustments in their areas of responsibility now that the filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) has started, where we expect election-related violent incidents will rise,” Eleazar said on Thursday.
The filing of certificates of candidacy of those who are running in the national and local elections on May 9, 2022, will be until Oct. 8. Candidates running for national posts shall file their COCs at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay, while filing of COCs for local positions will be held at local Commission on Elections offices in cities and municipalities.
Guard banks, financial districts
He said the tight election security will continue during the campaign period, election day and until the proclamation of winners next year.
“Aside from these preparations, I have also directed all chiefs of police to strictly secure banks and financial districts because we cannot erase the possibility that crime syndicates and private armed groups would target them to raise funds for their bets in the upcoming elections,” Eleazar added.
Eleazar’s order came after three attacks, which were believed to be election-related.
On Wednesday, motorcycle-riding men lobbed a grenade at the ancestral house of Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez in Cagayan de Oro City. The grenade did not go off.
Rodriguez earlier announced plans to run for city mayor again. In 2016, he ran but lost when he challenged the reelection bid of Mayor Oscar Moreno.
Also on Wednesday, unidentified gunmen ambushed the car of a vice mayoral aspirant for Maguindanao town while traveling along the national highway.
Sam Zailon Esmael escaped unhurt, but one of his bodyguards was killed.