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Peaceful, orderly polls PNP’s top priority

July 3, 2023 Edd Reyes 316 views

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief Benjamin Acorda Jr. on Monday said the peaceful and orderly staging of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in October this year remains the top priority of the PNP.

Acorda’s announcement came as the PNP renewed its campaign against loose firearms, which according to him poses a serious security threat in the scheduled polls.

Earlier, the PNP’s Civil Security Group (CSG) reported that of the 30,068 guns owned by politicians, 8,313 or 27.64 percent have expired licenses.

Acorda said the PNP will submit this data to the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Commission on Elections (Comelec), which has already set August 28 to November 29, 2023 as gun ban period for the scheduled elections.

“All responsible gun owners, elected officials included, should know that owning firearms with expired licenses is illegal. Illegal possession of firearms is a crime punishable by law,” he said.

Meanwhile, the PNP chief said of the 38 potential private armed groups identified by police authorities, 32 are based in Mindanao.

Acorda said he is set to meet with PNP regional directors in the southern part of the country to know more about these private armed groups, controlled mostly by known politicians.

“Our monitoring and assessment are ongoing. We need to know the possible threats that they pose specifically before and during the elections in October,” Acorda said.

“As the protector of the Filipino people, your PNP is on top of the situation. We are handling this case with caution and vigilance,” he added.

Citing intelligence reports, Acorda said these private armed groups consist of around 200 members with approximately 400 firearms.

He assured the public that the PNP is more than ready to handle whatever threats or violence these private armed groups are capable of doing to disrupt the scheduled polls.