COMELEC-Cebu concern: Gun-for-hire men being monitored

Michael Vencynth H. Braga/NSA (The Freeman) - January 13, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Authorities are now monitoring the presence of “criminal elements” in the Province of Cebu as part of their preparation and security undertakings for the upcoming May 9 national and local elections.

Lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, Commission on Elections-Cebu provincial election supervisor, disclosed that these lawless elements are mostly gun-for-hire.

He said these criminals are considered as among the major threats to the conduct of peaceful elections since they can possibly be formed into private armed groups and utilized during the elections.

The concern was discussed during the Provincial Joint Security Coordinating Council meeting last Monday.

During the meeting, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines presented an overview of their security plan for 2016 elections. The poll body, on the other hand, briefed the law enforcers on the guidelines of the conduct of checkpoints.

“They want to neutralize these criminal elements aron di magamit sa election,” Castillano told reporters yesterday.

He, however, said there was no report of any private armed group in the province yet.

He said armed groups coming from other provin-ces usually surfaced days or weeks before the election day based on the experience in the previous elections.

“That is what we are also trying to prevent,” he added.

Comelec and the PNP have not identified yet areas in the province to be included in the elections watchlist. If an area is included in the watchlist, its security measures will be further beefed up with more police and  military forces fielded in the said area.

The monitoring is also part of the ongoing implementation of the election gun ban which started last January 10 and runs until June 8 this year.

Under the Comelec Reso-lution 9981, bearing, carrying or transporting firearms or deadly weapons, unless authorized in writing by the poll body, is prohibited during the period.

Airsoft guns and other replica firearms are also included in the ban. —  (FREEMAN)

ACIRC AIRSOFT CASTILLANO COMELEC ELECTIONS ELECTIONS-CEBU LAWYER LIONEL MARCO CASTILLANO PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE AND THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES PROVINCE OF CEBU PROVINCIAL JOINT SECURITY COORDINATING COUNCIL UNDER THE COMELEC RESO
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