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March 12, 2023 Alfred P. Dalizon 1600 views

AzurinPHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. has assured House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez that all efforts are being undertaken by the police force to solve the gun attacks on public officials and every single crime in the country.

“I do appreciate the challenge posed by the Speaker. We do not just promise, we act on every crime that is being done or perpetrated. Police are working very hard to solve every crime happening in the country,” the top cop said.

Speaker Romualdez earlier called on the PNP leadership to act with dispatch to restore law and order before the people totally lose their trust and confidence in them. He issued the challenge in the wake of the spate of gun attacks on public officials, the latest of which left Negros Oriental Governor Roel R. Degamo and eight others dead last March 4.

“We should all be concerned for every Filipino being killed on a daily basis. Kaya dapat pagtulung-tulungan natin ito. We could not keep tolerating such a way of killing,” Gen. Azurin said.

The official has ordered a stepped-up crackdown on partisan armed groups and loose firearms in the country specifically in areas historically known for election-related violence in the past and called on his commanders to ensure the safety and security of elected public officials in their areas.

Among the new security measures being considered are the following: improved security planning and reconnaissance in provincial capitols and city halls, places of engagement and residence of governors, vice-governors, mayors and vice-mayors and other public officials who are facing serious threats.

It also includes the conduct of background checks on all staffs, security personnel and even members of the media and other individuals known for frequently talking with the subject personalities and the increase in the number of police security escorts to the subjects.

The PNP chief said he immediately informed President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ R. Marcos Jr. of the shooting incident in Negros Oriental Saturday last week as soon as he received the report regarding the attack. He also reported to the President that the governor had died of his gunshot wounds.

However, he said that “despite these recent shooting incidents involving elective government officials, in separate locations, there is no evidence that these incidents are connected with each other.”

“From all indications, all these incidents stemmed from peculiar motivations of the assailants and does not reflect the whole peace and order situation in the country wherein for the past months of January and February 2023 a decline of almost 20 percent of crimes were recorded as compared to year 2022 same period,” the top cop said.

“At the end of the day however, we are confident that we shall be able to find closure to these cases by putting behind bars the persons responsible for these crimes. I would like to appeal to all peace-loving Filipinos to support your law enforcement sector by providing information for the early solution of these cases,” he added.

Gen. Azurin thanked the people of Negros Oriental and the social media for providing the PNP and the Armed Forces with information that led to the fast solution of the Degamo case with the arrest of four of the suspects and the killing of another and the confiscation of a cache of firearms, ammunition and other military weaponries used by the killers.

He said that they are still tracking down at least five other suspects as of press time.

“When it comes to the arrested suspects, they are willing to cooperate, tell what they know about what happened during that unfortunate incident,” he said.

The PNP chief said that also recovered from the suspects were bullet-proof vests, combat boots and other military outfits as well as their three getaway vehicles.

“May lead tayo sa mastermind of which today we cannot yet disclose. Ongoing ang follow-up operations to locate the other suspects,” he said.

Gen. Azurin also thanked Police Regional Office 6 director, Brigadier Gen. Leo M. Francisco for helping in the effort to capture the fleeing suspects. The PRO6 quickly established checkpoints in Negros Occidental to intercept the killers who apparently are unfamiliar with the area as they even asked for direction from some local residents.

He added that PRO10 director, Brig. Gen. Lawrence B. Coop also provided them with information regarding the background of some of the suspects who were all former Army soldiers.

PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group director, Brig. Gen. Romeo M. Caramat Jr. also supervised the hot pursuit operation in Barangay Tandayag in Amlan, Negors Oriental last March 5 which led to the capture of a 4th suspect identified as Rickyvelle Liuces. The suspect yielded a cache of weapons which include five snipers and assault rifles, assorted magazines and 25 boxes of live M-16 ammunition and a Toyota Innova with six different license plates.

Gen. Azurin said they are also determining the liability of the officials who failed to provide Gov. Degamo with adequate security despite confirmed threats to his life. He earlier ordered all 17 PNP regional directors to talk to their governors and other elected public officials whose lives are under imminent danger and see to it that they will be fully secured.

“Very daring and bold kasi yung ginawa ng mga killers ni Gov. Degamo. Pumasok sila sa bahay na naka-uniform, thus security should not relax even while inside the houses of their VIPs. There’s no reason to lower your guard as far as security is concerned,” he said.


Gen. Azurin said he has ordered his Command Group to look into the possible reshuffling of some personnel in the region in the aftermath of the Gov. Degamo slaying.

“I already ordered the Command Group to look into possible reshuffling of personnel, Kulang ba sa intelligence? Kulang ba. sa abiso ang mga VIPs considering yung level of threat sa governor,” he asked.

He described the recent gun attacks as ‘isolated cases’ although their common denominator is that the victims are elected public officials.

“On the part of the PNP, we want to determine the motives na puwedeng iba-iba. Me political, me business, me personal grudge. Pero hindi naman sa hindi tayo dapat hindi mag-alala. For every Filipino killed, yung PNP must ensure protection of all, hindi lang officials. Lahat ng nabibiktima ng krimen, dapat maging concerned tayo,” he explained.

Last Tuesday, officers and men of the Bayawan City Police Station in Negros Oriental were relieved and replaced with new personnel amid the ongoing manhunt operation for the rest of the killers of Gov. Degamo.

The Bayawan City policemen were replaced by personnel from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion of the Police Regional Office 7.

Lieutenant Colonel. Stephen Amamaguid took over as the new city police chief vice Lt. Col. Rex Moslares.

The policemen who were relieved from the Bayawan City police station were ordered to undergo a 30 – day Character and Aptitude Development Training program (CADET) which tackles values formation, internal discipline, PNP ethical standards among others.