PNP steps up patrols to prevent attacks on politicians

December 10, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 240 views

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Dionardo B. Carlos on Friday ordered all 17 police regional office directors and their field commanders to further implement aggressive measures to prevent attacks on elected officials and other personalities in the country.

Although these incidents are yet to be considered as election-related violent incidents, the PNP chief said the cases should be immediately addressed and solved as soon as possible as they may pose a threat to the peaceful conduct of the 2022 national and local elections.

Carlos directed all regional directors, their provincial and city directors as well as their chiefs of police and force commanders to take all the appropriate steps including stepped-up foot and mobile patrols, deployment of undercover officers and an all-out campaign against illegal firearms and private armed groups in their jurisdiction to prevent similar incidents from taking place.

The top cop referred to shooting incidents over the past few weeks that left some elected officials and other candidates or their supporters dead or wounded although he said that it is too early to say that they are election related.

There is also the case of journalist Jesus ‘Jess’ Malabanan who was shot dead by an unidentified gunman while watching television inside his family’s store in Calbayog City in Samar around 6:30 p.m. last Wednesday. The assassin fled onboard a motorcycle being driven by a cohort.

As of press time, concerned police units are still tracking down the gunmen involved in those attacks and are looking for all possible witnesses and other leads including CCTV footages that could lead them to the solution of the cases.

Last Tuesday, Carlos ordered a thorough investigation into the assassination of a town councilor in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte.

Sangguniang Bayan (SB) member Apolonio Medrano was shot dead while about to board his vehicle after attending the traditional flag-raising ceremony in the municipality on Monday morning.

The SB member sustained gunshot wounds in the different parts of his body and was pronounced dead upon arrival in a local hospital by an attending physician.

According to witnesses, a jacket-riding gunman fled onboard a motorcycle after shooting the victim without any provocation.

A retired police intelligence officer, Medrano also survived an ambush attempt on April 26, 2017.

Police are also still investigating the attack on two Basilan mayors on Monday morning in Zamboanga City. Hot pursuit operations are already underway to get the killers too.

Carlos directed Lieutenant Gen. Jose Chiquito M. Malayo, the PNP Area Commander for Western Mindanao (APC-WM), to coordinate pursuit operations by the Police Regional Office 9 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region police force against the gunmen who allegedly escaped aboard a motorized boat.

Carlos said that since the pursuit may involve overlapping regional jurisdictions, the APC-WM is in a better position to coordinate operations by PNP Regional and National Support Units, as well as with Armed Forces and Coast Guard units in the area.

Four gunmen attacked Mayor Alih Awal Sali of Akbar Basilan, Mayor Darussalam Saguindilan Lajid of Al-Barka Basilan, and driver Barad Nuruddin at 8:31 a.m. Monday in Seaside, Bgy. Baliwasan, Zamboanga City.

The victims sustained gunshot wounds and were rushed to the hospital for immediate medical treatment but Mayor Darussalam Lajid and the driver Nuriddin were declared dead on arrival by the attending physician, the report said.

The suspects fled after the commission of the crime with a motorized boat and one white car as their getaway vehicles. Police are looking into possible “Rido” or clan feud as one of the motives behind the Zamboanga City attack.