Speaker meets with PNP, DILG heads over attacks on local execs | Inquirer News

Speaker meets with PNP, DILG heads over attacks on local execs

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:15 AM February 28, 2023

Benhur Abalos, Rodlfo Azurin Jr., Martin Romualdez STORY: Speaker meets with PNP, DILG heads over attacks on local execs

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos (left) and Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., PNP chief (beside Abalos), attended an emergency meeting with House Speaker Martin Romualdez (second from right) on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. (Photo from a video from the Office of the House Speaker)

MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Martin Romualdez called for an emergency meeting on Monday with the heads of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police to address the spate of attacks on local government officials.

“It’s alarming because it seems that almost every week there is news about high-profile killings,” the Leyte representative said in a statement on Sunday.


“We want to know from the PNP and the DILG what steps are being taken to stop these kinds of heinous crimes,” Romualdez added.


According to Romualdez, the meeting with Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos and PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. would discuss how Congress may help in solving these crimes.

Abalos assured the public that the police were working hard to resolve the attacks, adding that he had directed the police to intensify their campaign against private armed groups and loose firearms, especially in Mindanao.

“We need to dismantle these armed groups and confiscate all loose firearms in their possession so they will not be used in any illegal activities,” he said in a statement on Monday.

‘Not alarming yet’

In a presser in Camp Crame on Monday, Azurin said the attacks on local government executives were not alarming yet, adding these could just be isolated cases.

“I would say it’s not yet alarming, because we are still determining the motives for these attacks. The situations are different, the reasons why these people were killed are different. It’s either political, personal, business rivalry or other reason why these killings are happening,” he explained.

Attacks on three local government officials were reported in a span of just five days last week, which killed a vice mayor, three police officers and six civilians.


The first attack occurred on Feb. 17 in Kalilangan town in Bukidnon province, wounding Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr. and his aide Ali Tabao.

His driver, identified only as Kobi, and three of his police escorts died in the ambush.

In the second attack two days later, Aparri, Cagayan Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda and five of his companions—John Duane Alameda, Abraham Ramos Jr., Ismael Nanay, Alexander delos Angeles and Alvin Abel—were killed in an ambush in Bagabag town, Nueva Vizcaya province.

Latest victim

The latest ambush victim was Mayor Ohto Montawal of Datu Montawal town, Maguindanao del Sur province, who was wounded after motorcycle-riding suspects shot his van in Pasay City on the evening of Feb. 22.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said the three attacks might not be related.

“As of now, we have not established or seen any link with respect to the three cases,” she said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel on Monday.

These incidents have prompted Azurin to order all heads of the 17 police regional offices to conduct an assessment of security threats against all elected and appointed officials in their areas of jurisdiction.

So far, no politician has come to them about possible risks to their lives, Azurin said.

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Under the PNP rules, elected local government officials are only allowed to have two security personnel.


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TAGS: attacks on politicians, Martin Romualdez, Philippine National Police, Rodolfo Azurin Jr.

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