THIRTY-three persons have been killed since the start of the 2018 election period on April 14 for the Barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK, youth council) elections, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said Monday, May 14.
There have been a total of 42 suspected election-related incidents in the past month, broken down as follows: 33 shooting incidents, two kidnapping cases and one incident each of strafing, arson, harassment, illegal detention ambush, grave threat and grenade throwing.
Albayalde said seven were validated as election-related incidents.
Of those killed, 18 were elected government officials, four were candidates, three were former elected government officials, two were supporters of candidates and six were civilians.
The PNP also recorded 26 persons who were hurt in these incidents.
Albayalde said the PNP has identified 29 suspects while 82 other perpetrators remain unidentified. Six have been arrested and charged while nine were released after investigation. The rest are at large.
Among the 42 incidents were those involving Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot and former La Union congressman Eufranio Eriguel.
Eriguel was shot dead on Saturday, May 12, in Barangay Capas, Agoo, La Union. His two bodyguards Bong Tubera and Bobby Ordinario were also gunned down.
Albayalde said the La Union police have identified two persons of interest in Eriguel’s case.
Loot, on the other hand, survived a gun attack on Saturday morning in Maya Port in northern Cebu. Loot has also been tagged as a narco-general by President Rodrigo Duterte.
He was with his family when at least three gunmen opened fire on them as they got off a pumpboat. Two drivers and a nanny were wounded.
“As of this time wala pa talaga (result ang investigation) kasi hindi pa s’ya (Loot) makausap. Ang report sa atin ng regional director he was given additional security and his family. The investigation is still going
on. Hindi pa natin maestablish kung ano ang motive doon or kung ambush me or not,” Albayalde said.
(We have not talked to him. The regional director told us that Loot and his family were given additional security. We have not established the motive yet.)
“Well sabi nya ‘yung threat ‘yung pinipilit nya is ‘yung every now and then name-mention s’ya ng ating President. Yun ang palaging sinasabi na threat sa kanya, ‘yung alleged involvement sa illegal drugs,” he added.
(He has repeatedly cited the threat against him in connection with his alleged involvement in illegal drugs.)
Meanwhile, Albayalde said a total of 181, 212 police personnel have assumed election duty since the entire PNP went on full alert on 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 13, in preparation for the local polls.
He said 73,562 personnel are manning their respective posts while 13,267 troops from the Reactionary stand-by support Force (RSSF) and 2,854 RSSF at the national headquarters were on alert for any eventualities.
“A larger force of 89,529 personnel comprising Quick Reaction Teams are also on the highest alert condiction andf readiness to respond to any contingency,” he said.
He said the PNP forces are backed by troops from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) particularly in the 7,857 areas listed on the election watch list.
Albayalde said to ensure that police personnel are on their post, they also deployed red teams and counter-intelligence operatives. (SunStar Philippines)