SEVEN politicians and private persons believed to be maintaining private armies in Western Visayas are now under close monitoring by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army.

Thus, divulged Police Chief Superintendent Isagani Cuevas, PNP-6 regional director who was guest speaker in yesterday’s 19th anniversary of the PNP at Camp Montelibano in Bacolod City.

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Cuevas however did not divulged the persons being monitored.

Private armed groups mean having two or more persons detailed to a private person or politician carrying firearms legal or not legal.

Cuevas explained that even the police and the AFP personnel detailed to a politician or private person without the authority from the Comelec “are not allowed and we consider them as armed groups.”

“We direct all provincial directors to coordinate with the AFP that they should not allow their personnel to be hired or used in providing protection to anybody without Comelec’s authorization,” said Cuevas.

Meanwhile, in his message delivered at the Camp Montelibano Hall, Cuevas reminded all the PNP personnel not to be complacent with their duties and responsibilities.

“So that insurgency problems and other crime-related activities will be addressed in Western Visayas,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas also led in the awarding of several individuals, including the government and private agencies, and the media.

A special award was given to Police Senior Inspector Sonny Boy Bernus for the immediate response of the Hinigaran PNP during the robbery hold-up of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC).

The police’s immediate response resulted to the recovery of P11.96 million from the suspects.

Other awardees were PO2 Dandy D. Ilalto for the Police Non-Commissioned Office (PNCO) of the year 2009, P02 Rhumayla Mangilimutan for the Women Children's Protection Desk (WCPD) PNCO of the Year 2009 award, and the members of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Noppo) Provincial Staff as Staff Officers of the Year 2009.

Awarded as Unite Awardees were San Carlos City PNP as Model Urban Police Station for the Year 2009 represented by Police Superintendent Harold Tuzon, E.B. Magalona PNP as Model Rural Police Station of the Year represented by Police Chief Inspector Samuel Mina and 612th PMG as Model Provincial Manuever Unit for the year 2009 represented by Police Superintendent Roderick Alba.

For the media, Sun.Star-Bacolod was one of the awardees represented by OIC editor George M. De La Cruz.