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PNP, AFP intensify drive vs threat groups as village polls near

/ 08:34 PM October 24, 2013

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan PHOTO/A2C Bryan Bautista/ AFP PAO

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Thursday they have intensified their campaign against threat groups conducting extortion activities in connection with the forthcoming barangay (village) polls.

In a PNP-AFP-Comelec joint press conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Brigadier General Domingo Tutaan, AFP spokesman, said they have received reports that threat groups are extorting money from candidates.

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To this, Tutaan said intelligence operations are being conducted for the identification of these groups. Moreover, information operations are also being conducted to remind the public not to fall prey to these extortion activities.

“This is more on areas where . . . armed groups want to control the results of the elections,” Tutaaan said.

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For his part, Police Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP-Public Information Office chief, said that aside from extortion activities, the PNP is also monitoring candidates who are reportedly members of threat groups

Meanwhile, on the issue of vote buying, Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez said they have also intensified their operations to curb industrialized vote buying.

Industrialized vote-buying, he said, refers usually to well-planned operations to influence the result of the elections, for example, by attaching certain amount of money in sample ballots, or when it is directly given to groups of voters.

He said these schemes to buy votes happen before the Election Day itself, and sting operations are being conducted to address this.

Meanwhile, on the day of the elections, Jimenez urged citizens who would witness vote buying to document through pictures the illegal act, but reminded them to take extra caution.

“Kung kaya kuhanan ng patago, that’s good. Pero never at the risk of their own safety. . . no report is worth your safety,” Jimenez said.

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