DILG, PNP to boost visibility, target loose firearms

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
DILG, PNP to boost visibility, target loose firearms
“Let us ensure that the law is carried out strictly, without fear or favor,” he said as he met Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos, PNP chief Rodolfo Azurin and other police top brass to discuss ways to prevent more crimes.
STAR / Miguel De Guzman, file

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Martin Romualdez called on the leadership of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to intensify their drive in combatting criminality following the spate of slay attempts against public officials.

“Let us ensure that the law is carried out strictly, without fear or favor,” he said as he met Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos, PNP chief Rodolfo Azurin and other police top brass to discuss ways to prevent more crimes.

The Speaker also agreed on the necessity of an intensified drive against criminality that includes a sustained crackdown on illegal firearms and increased police visibility across the country along with ongoing programs for improved intelligence-gathering capability and training of policemen.

Romualdez said the effort to curb the incidence of crimes, especially gun-related violence, should start with strict enforcement of the law. “Let us ensure that the law is carried out strictly, without fear or favor. We are here to address all possible threats to public order and safety. We agreed to work together to reduce all forms of criminality and violence,” he stated.

As part of the anti-illegal firearms campaign, Romualdez said they sought a stricter licensing system for firearms by requiring additional training on gun safety and stringent background checks on anyone purchasing a firearm.

Romualdez also committed the solid support of the House of Representatives for an intensified campaign of law enforcement authorities against crime to ensure the safety of citizens.

“We gave Sec. Abalos and Gen. Azurin our assurance that the House of Representatives would be open to providing the PNP with adequate funding support and other resources – as well as new legislation if necessary – to buttress the campaign against crime, which is our shared concern,” he said.

Romualdez said he was able to talk to President Marcos who was in Cebu early in the day. “I talked to the President and he was glad that we are trying to help in solving this particular problem,” he said.

Abalos and Azurin reported to Romualdez that the crime rate went down despite the recent high-profile crime incidents.

Other leaders who attended the meeting include House Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe, House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Zaldy Co, Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, Camiguin Rep. Jayjay Romualdo and Agusan del Norte Rep. Joboy Aquino II.


Abalos earlier ordered the PNP to crack down on loose firearms and dismantle private armies, instructing the police to “stop this senseless violence against local officials and prevent criminal activities” which happened days apart this month.

“We have to dismantle these armed groups and confiscate their loose firearms under their possession being used for illicit activities,” Abalos said in Filipino.

He met with Romualdez on Monday night to give updates on the investigation into the Feb. 19 attack on Aparri, Cagayan vice mayor Rommel Alameda that killed the official and five others in Nueva Vizcaya; and the Feb. 17 ambush on Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr. that wounded him but killed four members of his convoy in Maguing town.

Datu Montawal, Maguindanao del Sur Mayor Ohto Montawal was wounded in an ambush along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City on Feb. 22. The mayor was in Manila to attend a League of Municipalities of the Philippines general assembly.

In a phone interview yesterday, Abalos said there was “positive development” in the investigation into one of the attacks. He refused to divulge details so as not to preempt the probe.

Abalos added that there was a major reshuffle in the PNP command in order to address the spate of attacks on elected officials.

National Capital Region Police chief Maj. Gen. Jonnel Estomo was promoted as deputy chief for operations. He was replaced by Maj. Gen. Edgar Alan Okubo as the top Metro Manila cop.

Hunting down perpetrators

The PNP yesterday said they have identified all perpetrators behind the ambush of Adiong and plan to file the complaint this week.

Azurin said the special investigation task group (SITG) looking into the case “had identified all the suspects” in the ambush.

“We have leads. So far, for the case of Gov. Adiong, I think within the week we will be filing the case against the suspects,” he said, adding that one of the suspects was killed.

As of Sunday, Azurin said that the SITG Alameda, which is investigating the ambush of vice mayor Alameda, has gathered vital evidence and promising leads. “We are optimistic that in the soonest time, we can solve this case,” the PNP chief said.

Azurin said they are backtracking CCTV footage in order to identify the suspects in the shooting of Montawal, as he labeled the shootings as “isolated killings.”

He likewise gave assurance that all resources of the PNP would be used to track down the criminals. “We will not allow those criminals to do their nefarious activities. We will make sure that they will face the consequences of their action at the soonest possible [time],” he said.

Azurin earlier directed all regional directors to conduct a threat assessment on elected and government officials. “Engage them one by one, see to it that their security concerns are all attended to,” he said. – Ralph Edwin Villanueva, Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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