Pimentel, chairman of the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to go all-out against guns-for-hire to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections.
Geremy Pintolo
Killings of local officials alarm Sen. Koko Pimentel
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - November 22, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has expressed alarm over a spate of killings of local government officials, including 12 mayors and seven vice mayors since 2016.

Pimentel, chairman of the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation, urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to go all-out against guns-for-hire to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections.

“The killings of local officials happening all over the country are alarming. These are surely election-related and if the PNP does not go all-out against these lawless elements, how can we have free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections?” asked Pimentel.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde ordered a crackdown on guns-for-hire and private armed groups in July this year following the series of killings of local officials in the country. The PNP aims to disarm and arrest all of them.

Pimentel agreed with the current intensified and relentless operations against these guns-for-hire and private armed groups, especially as the 2019 national and local elections are fast approaching, but maintained that these should be part of the PNP’s regular operations to effectively promote law and order in the entire country.

“The PNP must show that it is serious in this endeavour. The PNP must disarm these guns-for-hire and hit squads and timely file cases against them with sufficient evidence,” Pimentel said.

At least seven vice mayors and 12 mayors have been murdered between July 2016 and October 2018.

For this year, records showed five slain mayors: Supiden, La Union mayor Alexander Buquing on Oct. 1; Ronda, Cebu mayor Mariano Blanco III on Sept. 5; General Tinio, Nueva Ecija mayor Ferdinand Bote on July 3; Tanuan City, Batangas mayor Antonio Halili on July 2; and Buenavista, Bohol mayor Ronald Lowell Tirol on May 27.

Also this year, the four slain vice mayors were identified as Balaoan, La Union’s Alfred Concepcion on Nov. 14; Sapa Sapa, Tawi-Tawi’s Al Rashid Mohammad Ali on July 11; Trece Martires, Cavite’s Alex Lubigan on July 7; and Ronda, Cebu’s Jonah John Ungab on Feb. 19.

In 2017, the five local government officials killed were Roxas, Oriental Mindoro vice mayor Jackson Cinco Dy on Sept. 22; Ozamiz mayor Reynaldo Parojinog on July 30; Balete, Batangas mayor Leovino Hidalgo on June 10; Bien Unido mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel on June 7; and Marcos, Ilocos Norte mayor Arsenio Agustin on June 3.

AQUILINO “KOKO” PIMENTEL III EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE
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