Official Publication of the Philippine Information Agency Bicol Regional Office, in cooperation with the RIAC-REDIRAS - RDC Bicol

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

‘Rule of law must prevail as poll races heat up’

MASBATE CITY, April 26 (PIA)—The Philippine National Police expects politicians in the island-province of Masbate to follow the rule of law.

“I call on reelectionists and candidates to desist from arming their supporters with firearms. Taking the law into your hands will just make matters worse,” Senior Supt. Alexander J. Sampaga, PNP director for Masbate, told a press conference at Camp Bonny Serrano in this city on April 6.

Sampaga said that authorities will go after people with firearms.

Sampaga was addressing his warning to local candidates who in recent dialogues with the police and military had raised their concerns over the presence of armed goons in far-flung villages.

The candidates suggested that the rifle-wielding goons were employed by their rivals, saying the goons were terrorizing every day their unarmed followers.

“The Special Task Force Masbate is addressing their problem,” Sampaga said.

“We have security for them.  Your government security forces will defend civilians from those who threaten the conduct of fair, peaceful, and orderly elections in their area.”

“The Special Task Force of the PNP and AFP here will stamp out those elements,” he added.

Sampaga warned both the complaining candidates and their rivals against committing violence, saying the police and the military would do its best to maintain law and order in the province.

He offered as proof the seizure of explosives and high powered firearms from a residential house at Barangay Buenasuerte, Uson last April 6.

The  Special Task Force found three grenades, an M16 rifle and a 9mm-caliber handgun.

The task force raided a house where a certain Wilfredo D. Sartin was staying.  Sartin eluded the raiders, according to Sampaga.

He said police were still looking for clues as to whether Sartin was working for politicians.

But judging from the confiscated explosives and automatic firearms, Sampaga said Sartin could eventually be recruited by unscrupulous politicians because he was keeping “weapons of mass extermination.”

Only last Wednesday, April 20, the task force arrested three persons with ties to a private armed group in Dimasalang, a town 40 kilometers from this provincial capital.

Ramie O. Arizobal, his brother Ariel O. Arizobal and Porferio Atabay Jr. were arrested in their hideout at Barangay Aliño, Dimasalang.

Supt. Jennifer Tino, spokesperson of Camp Bonny Serrano, said a grenade, two firearms, ammunitions and illegal drugs were confiscated from the suspects’ safe house.

Masbate is home to some of the Philippines' entrenched political dynasties.

At the same time, it is one of the country's impoverished provinces.

Sampaga said that the PNP regional command has deployed 700 additional cops to beef up the 1,000 policemen manning the Masbate provincial command.

About 2,050 policemen and soldiers will be deployed for election duties in Masbate, he said. (EAD/PIA Masbate)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/821461699028/-rule-of-law-must-prevail-as-poll-races-heat-up-#sthash.l4XgTVOP.dpuf

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