Police meet to discuss security of aspirants, equipment for May elections-A A +A
Thursday, February 28, 2013
BARELY three months from the elections in May, the police have drawn up a security plan for candidates, polling centers and election-related equipment.
Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo Jr., head of Police Regional Office (PRO) 7, said they are assessing the capabilities of police personnel who will be involved in the May 13 elections.
“Initially, we will have difficulty because of the various tasks given to us. Hindi lang ito isang araw (This will not be over in a day). Once the machines will arrive, it is already our job,” he said.
Garbo had a meeting with Commission on Elections (Comelec) 7 Director Temie Lambino on Tuesday to discuss election-related concerns.
Yesterday, all provincial and city police directors in Central Visayas held a command conference at the Camp Sotero-Cabahug to discuss security plans.
“This is now the challenge of the police force on how we can juggle things,” Garbo said. He admitted that the police lack personnel but the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will deploy men as well.
The Comelec earlier identified 14 towns and cities in Cebu Province that are likely to be included in the election watchlist due to previous incidence of election-related violence.
In Central Visayas, 19 towns and cities are being evaluated as possible “election areas of concern” and the police said they will continue to monitor insurgent
movements in Negros Oriental.
Meanwhile, 10 potential private armed groups with close to 100 members are also being monitored by authorities.
Garbo said there is a possibility that hired guns would be used to disrupt electoral proceedings.
Meanwhile, two suspected hitmen were arrested by the police in Daanbantayan town while having a drinking session last Monday.
Chief Insp. Jose Liddawa, Daanbantayan police chief, identified them as Henry Pepito, 29, of Barangay Basak, Mandaue City; and Herbin Martinez, 51, of Tandag City, Surigao Del Sur.
The police seized a home-made .38 revolver from Pepito and an unlicensed .45 pistol from Martinez.
Liddawa said the suspects were arrested following a tip from a concerned citizen.
He said Martinez allegedly tried to pull out his gun but the police got to him first.
Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Patrocinio Comendador said the two men will be brought to the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) for questioning.
The police found a message on Martinez’s phone, which says: “Do, asa man ka karon? Naa tay P20 mil madali lang trabaho-on (Where are you? We could get P20,000 for an easy job).”
“We will try to extract information why they were there and their possible affiliation,” Comendador said. “Everything that happened in areas that are hotly contested have something to do with politics.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 28, 2013.