PNP orders crackdown on private armies in Samar as violence returns
TACLOBAN CITY—Police in Eastern Visayas region have started a crackdown on private armed groups maintained by politicians in Samar province after incidents of violence have resurfaced in the province.
Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar, Eastern Visayas police director, said this was among the security measures that the police had put in place, particularly in Calbayog City and San Jorge town.
Beltejar said he had ordered Senior Supt. Nestor Tiempo, Samar police chief, to dismantle private armed groups, regardless of who were maintaining them.
He also ordered the Samar police to conduct checkpoints, strengthen the barangay defense system and deploy troops from the regional public safety battalion to Calbayog City and San Jorge, where police noted a resurgence of violence this year.
On Jan. 28, Lester Bisnar, who ran but lost to Mayor Joseph Grey in San Jorge in last year’s election, was wounded in an ambush. Four days later, bombs were lobbed at Grey’s house.
Grey’s wife, Vice Mayor Nancy Grey, survived an ambush on Feb. 6.
Police said Bisnar’s mother, Luz, was shot and killed by unidentified suspects after she attended Mass on Feb. 19.
At least 10 shooting incidents were reported in Calbayog City since the start of the year. Among the victims was Mardone Repol, a public elementary school teacher. These cases have yet to be solved, according to the police.
Maj. Gen. Raul Farnacio, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said private armed groups could only be dismantled if their financiers would stop supporting them. —WITH A REPORT FROM ROBERT DEJON
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