Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Police will remain apolitical in 2010 polls—PNP chief

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 09:43:00 01/06/2010

Filed Under: Police, Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20100106-245814/Police-will-remain-apolitical-in-2010-pollsPNP-chief

MANILA, Philippines—The entire national police force vowed to remain apolitical in the coming general elections in May, as the Philippine National Police gears for security measures and programs to make the elections peaceful.

PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa on Wednesday directed all police regional directors to not be used for partisan politics, even as he urged them to implement the appropriate security measures to secure the ballots.

“The PNP plays a vital role in securing the ballot,” Verzosa told officials during the annual New Year’s call in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Verzosa particularly urged all officials to step up the dismantling of private armies, particularly in the so-called election “hotspots,” or election areas of concern.

The identified election hotspots are: Abra, Nueva Ecija, Masbate, Western Samar, Lanao Del Norte, Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, and Sulu.

Verzosa said the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines will be holding a joint command conference with the Commission on Elections on Thursday to discuss the security measures for the elections.

Verzosa said that among the security measures for the elections is the continued dismantling of private armed groups.

He said authorities are looking at some areas where armed groups only mobilize during election season.

“Actually ang partisan armed groups may be composed of two or more. So makikita natin na kahit dadalawa lang yan (we see that even if there are just two), this is already part of a group…Iba’t ibang (Different) purposes kasi yan eh. May iba (Some) only to secure a certain personality or candidate, and others nag-v-vary ang degree of involvement. Yung iba diyan (Others), to go the extreme, they are being used in assassination or some other illegal activities,” Verzosa said.

In Maguindanao province, Verzosa said authorities are still looking to dismantle at least two big armed groups consisting of around 60 men who were reportedly involved in the massacre of 57 people there last November 23, 2009 and the alleged rebellion.

“But there are reports that some of them have moved toward Sultan Kudarat,” Verzosa said, as police operations continue to hunt down these heavily armed private armies.

Verzosa said he is confident that the police will meet the directive of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to dismantle private armies before her term ends.

“I think we can have a holistic approach toward the neutralization of partisan armed groups,” he added.

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20100106-245814/Police-will-remain-apolitical-in-2010-pollsPNP-chief

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