Comelec asked: Rein in ‘partisan’ cops

ONE Cebu Party filed yesterday a complaint accusing the Regional Mobile Group (RMG) and Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) of illegal and partisan acts to harass their candidates and supporters.

In his letter-complaint to Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Eddie Aba, Atty. Ferdinand Pepito said the party received reports, particularly from the towns of Alegria and Badian and the City of Naga, that RMG and RPSB teams violated the rights of One Cebu leaders and supporters by forcibly entering their homes and searching them without valid court orders to do so.

“If these incidents will continue unabated, these might escalate into violence and affect the peace and order situation of the entire province,” Pepito said.

He said the party wanted their protests put on record, so that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would act immediately.

When asked to comment, Atty. Aba told Sun.Star Cebu he faxed the complaint to the heads of the RMG and RPSB, both police units, for their comment.

Interviewed separately, Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Marcelo Garbo Jr. said he does not mind the allegations against the RMG and RPSB.

“All the things that my men do are part of the security plan we set and the Comelec knows it, too,” said Garbo.

He said it’s not just One Cebu that has raised complaints against the police, but some members of the Liberal Party (LP) as well.

“No matter what political party you belong, if you will not abide by the law, makakatikim sila sa police (the police will go after you),” the police general added.

In an interview with radio station DYLA, Supt. Clifford Gairanod, chief of the RPSB 7, said he sent personnel to various towns and cities of Cebu to conduct checkpoints. He assured that no supporters of One Cebu or the United Nationalist Alliance were harassed.

He added in the radio interview that they did not conduct any house-to-house search; nor did LP candidates accompany them during the checkpoints.

The RPSB 7 was also the same unit that guarded the Provincial Capitol when Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia was suspended last December.

Garbo said he had instructed the police to enforce the “no guns, no goons” policy.

“If there are goons in the area, the police have to engage and encounter them. The police will have to look for them. We are taking them (these goons) seriously,” added Garbo.
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