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2 alleged members of Abra private army fall

/ 06:40 PM November 12, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—Two men, including an alleged leader of a partisan armed group, operating in Abra and nearby Cordillera provinces, were arrested Sunday evening in Pasig City.

Their arrest came as the Philippine National Police stepped-up its campaign against private armies, the PNP spokesman said Monday.

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Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. identified the arrested suspects as Prudencio Britanico, 44, the alleged leader of the PAG Britanico; and alleged group member Robert Villastiqui, 39.

Police said the two are wanted for murder cases.

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Cerbo said the suspects were arrested in Barangay (village) Dela Paz in Pasig City by a composite team of police operatives from the Abra and Pasig police offices.

Chief Superintendent Benjamin Magalong, Cordillera regional director, said both suspects are “active PAG” members.

The group is believed to be responsible for at least seven, mostly politically motivated shooting incidents in the province recently, Cerbo said.

“Upon their arrest, the suspects yielded an X9 machine pistol and five assorted vehicle plate numbers,” Cerbo said.

The PNP, he added, has accounted for some 5,000 loose firearms from January to October this year in a bid to seize illegal guns beings used by PAGs, criminal elements and unauthorized individuals, as part of PNP’s election security measures for the 2013 polls.

Cerbo earlier said the PNP is looking into at least 60 suspected PAGs nationwide, nine are allegedly based in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“No private armed groups would be spared, whether they are related to any organization, any party, or any individual,” Deputy Director General Alan Purisima, head of Task Force Safe (Secured and Fair Elections) earlier said.

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He also said the PNP is in the process of fine-tuning the memorandum circular for the upcoming elections, and will probably be finished within the week.

“Basically, this memorandum circular…would be the blue print to be followed by our PNP units until the elections are over,” the spokesman said.

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