“Some cops are said to be acting as hired guns for unscrupulous politicians.”
It was reassuring to hear President Duterte order the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to help the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ensure a peaceful and orderly conduct of the upcoming May 9 elections.
The 220,000-strong PNP must support the Comelec to guarantee that the whole exercise will be honest, clean and fair in order to be successful and credible.
In the first place, PNP personnel should be apolitical or neutral, just like how the AFP troops conduct themselves during elections.
Unfortunately, there are disturbing reports that some police units are engaging in partisan politics, favoring some candidates in exchange for hefty bribes.
Reports have it that policemen are moonlighting as goons or hired guns for some unscrupulous politicians or warlords in various regions.
In one instance, the chief of police in a local government unit (LGU) in Bulacan Province reportedly prohibited a mayoral candidate from holding a campaign rally for the reason that he is not a member or allied with an influential sect in the locality.
In a similar scenario, another mayoral candidate in Iloilo Province has been barred from holding his political rally because he is identified as a political nemesis of the incumbent local chief executive.
The mayoral candidates’ complaints have reached the office of the PNP Chief General Dionardo Carlos and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Eduardo Año but there was no feedback as to the officials’ action nor response.
Meanwhile, fear gripped the constituents of Pilar town, Abra, after the bodyguard of reelectionist Vice Mayor Jaja Josefina Disono was killed in a “shootout” with policemen after driving through a checkpoint without stopping.
Disono is running for reelection in tandem with incumbent Mayor Mario Somera.
The killing turned out to be an ambush, according to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after establishing that the group of Disono did not fire a single bullet.
There was no provocation on the part of Disono’s convoy.
There was no legitimate Comelec/PNP checkpoint as some of the assailants were in civilian clothes, the footage clearly shows.
The NBI filed murder charges against at least 12 policemen, including officials of the PNP Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) director, Abra provincial director and the Pilar town police chief.
According to the NBI, closed circuit television (CCTV) footage showed that the police mobile involved clearly did not sustain any damage from a gunshot as alleged by policemen.
CCTV showed that the gunshot that broke the windshield of the said police car appeared only after the vehicle left and returned to the crime scene, the NBI said.
The townspeople are terrified; they fear that they can be the next target of rogue policemen serving as “private army” of local political warlords or traditional politicians (trapos), making this year’s elections just like any other in the past for them.
Walang pa ring pagbabago.
A Camp Crame insider said the PNP is focused on its anti-illegal gambling drive rather than complying with the President’s order to ensure a peaceful, orderly, honest, clean, and fair elections.
I sure hope that means PNP being focused on stopping illegal gambling instead of goons for trapos.