MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is mulling to deploy police commandos of the Special Action Force (SAF) to maintain security and order during the election season.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday said he has ordered SAF Director Maj. Gen. Felipe Natividad to prepare the commandos and place them on standby for deployment against election-related violence.
Similarly, Eleazar also ordered police regional directors to intensify target-hardening measures following the grenade attack on the ancestral home of Cagayan 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and other recent incidents of election-related violence.
“Inatasan ko na ang lahat ng Regional Directors na magsagawa ng mga target-hardening measures at security adjustments sa kani-kanilang area of responsibility lalo na at mag-uumpisa na ang filing of certificate of candidacy kung saan maaaring tumaas ang bilang ng election-related violent incidents,” Eleazar said.
(I have directed all the Regional Directors to do target-hardening measures at security adjustments within their respective area of responsibility, especially as the filing of the certificates of candidacy would start on Friday, which usually sparks an increase in election-related violent incidents.)
“Inatasan ko na rin ang Director, SAF na maghanda sa posibleng immediate deployment sa mga lugar na sa tingin namin ay maaaring maging security concerns dahil sa mahigpit na political rivalry,” he added.
(I have also tasked the SAF Director to prepare for a possible immediate deployment to areas we believe may be a huge security concern because of the tight battle between political rivals.)
On Wednesday, it was reported that a grenade was lobbed at the ancestral house of Rodriguez. According to Eleazar, the grenade was thrown by motorcycle-riding suspects.
No one was harmed as the grenade failed to explode.
A councilor of Liloy town in Zamboanga del Norte was also killed in an ambush, while a vice mayoral bet from Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao narrowly escaped a gun attack.
Eleazar said security preparations must be initiated early, especially with the filing of certificates of candidacy starting by Friday, October 1.
“Kasabay ng mga paghahandang ito ang direktiba sa lahat ng mga chiefs of police na mahigpit na bantayan ang mga bangko at iba pang mga financial districts dahil hindi natin inaaalis ang posibilidad na mag-uumpisa ng gumalaw ang mga sindikato at private armed groups para makalikom ng pondo na maaaring gamitin ng kani-kanilang manok sa darating na halalan,” Eleazar said.
(Along with these preparations are the directives issued to all chiefs of police, that they should strictly monitor banks and financial districts because we do not erase the possibility that syndicates and private armed groups have started moving to fund their operations, which may be used for the upcoming elections.)
“Para sa ating mga kababayan, hindi hahayaan ng inyong PNP na manaig ang kasamaan sa darating na halalan at bastusin ang demokrasya para sa personal na interes ng iilan,” he added.
(For our people, I assure you that the PNP would not allow evil to prevail in the upcoming elections and for syndicates to just disrespect our democracy and electoral process for the interest of the few.)
Despite the recent incidents, Eleazar said the PNP remains committed to ensuring that the sanctity of the electoral process is protected.
“The Philippine National Police commits to protect and defend our electoral process at all cost because we believe that the reign of violence and dishonesty during our electoral process is no democracy at all,” he noted.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.