Eleazar orders probe into attack on poll officer in Basilan
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has ordered an investigation into the gun attack on an election officer in Maluso, Basilan.
In a statement, Eleazar said he has directed the regional director of Police Regional Office 9 (PRO-9) to mount a probe into the ambush incident and to provide protection to the victim.
“Inatasan ko na ang RD PRO9 na magsagawa ng malalimang imbestigasyon sa kasong ito upang mapanagot ang may kagagawan sa tangkang pagpatay sa election officer ng Maluso, Basilan. Kasabay sa aking utos ang pagbibigay ng proteksyon sa kanya,” Eleazar said.
(I have directed the regional director of PRO-9 to immediately do a thorough investigation so that the people behind this attempt to kill an election officer from Maluso, Basilan, would be held accountable. Along with this directive is the provision of protection for the victim.)
At the same time, Eleazar said the PNP will sit down with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to discuss how election officers could be protected as the 2022 national and local elections draw near.
“Makikipag-ugnayan din tayo sa liderato ng Commission on Elections upang pag-usapan kung paano makakatulong ang inyong PNP sa seguridad ng mga opsiyal ng Comelec lalo na sa mga probinsya na may history ng election violence,” he added.
(We would also coordinate with the Comelec leadership to discuss how the PNP can help in securing the Comelec officials especially in areas and provinces with a history of election-related violence.)
According to Eleazar, the election officer was wounded in the attack that took place at Isabela City’s Barangay San Rafael, on Monday night. Initial investigation showed that the Comelec personnel was inside his car with his wife when unidentified gunmen opened fire.
The election officer was brought to the Basilan Community Hospital and is now undergoing treatment.
“On the part of the PNP, we are continuously conducting preparations and aggressive operations against all the threats on the peaceful and honest conduct of the May 2022 elections,” Eleazar assured.
Over the past few weeks, PNP and its units have been monitoring election-related violence in the country, especially after several attacks on political personalities or those with ties to elected officials in Mindanao.
In response, Eleazar said last September 30 that they are eyeing the deployment of Special Action Force (SAF) troopers to protect the sanctity of the polls.
He also vowed that the PNP would work hard to secure other election-related events, like the extended voter registration period. According to PNP, among the measures being done by the police force right now is its campaign against loose firearms and the pursuit of private armed groups.
These campaigns, Eleazar said, would provide the PNP the means to prepare early against election-related violence while effectively denying syndicates the chance to affect the country’s elections.
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