On violence in Samar PRO-8 director assails governor report to Comelec
Miriam Garcia Desacada (The Freeman) - May 2, 2016 - 10:00am

PALO, LEYTE, Philippines — Chief Superintendent Jose Erwin Villacorte, director of the Police Regional Office-8, yesterday lambasted Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan for releasing “non-factual data and statement” on  alleged violation of human rights violations, killings and harassment incidents in the province.

The governor issued this report to the poll body as she asked to place her province under Comelec control.

In a press briefing yesterday morning, Villacorte challenged Gov. Tan to prove and show official documents that will justify the data she sent to the Comelec.

“It’s now time to prove it publicly because she should be factual in any data and statement. Problema na niya yun because the PRO-8 has data that will support its claim. And we cannot change our reports to the PNPs higher headquarters contrary to what Gov, Tan’s report in her letter to the Comelec,” said Villacorte.

Tan, in her communication to the Comelec, cited “unpredented surge” in election-related human rights violations, which have “reached colossal heights, noticeably merciless brutal senseless killings so as incidents of massive intimidation against her supporters.”

Because of these alleged violations, Tan requested that 16 police officials in Eastern Visayas, including Villacorte, and Samar Police provincial director, Senior Supt. Rommel Cabagnot, be immediately relieve from their respective posts.

Villacorte and Cabagnot both said they were not affected with this move of the governor because, since the start of the election period in January 8, the shooting incidents in Samar, particularly in the first district, in the first quarter had gone down compared to the same period last year.

PRO-8 records showed that only 65 cases of shooting, 26 of which were killed, this first quarter compared to the same period last year when 112 killings occurred in Samar in the 1st quarter, 120 in the second quarter, and 94 in the last quarter, said Villacorte.

“The PRO-8 investigation disclosed, and based on the board assessment, not one in the series of shooting incidents were election-related violence. Grabe na kasi ang lumalabas na statement, nakaka-nervous kung hindi ka talaga kukuha ng official data from the authorities. I don’t know if the letter of Gov. Tan was deliberate. I hope she was not that serious,” Villacorte added.

The PRO-8’s campaign against loose firearms also resulted in the confiscation of 329 high- and lower-powered firearms all over the region, and in the arrest of 109 most wanted personalities, 12 of whom were from Calbayog City.

Four members of the Tan family are now seeking elective posts in the province: Governor Tan’s mother, 2nd Distrtict Representative Mila Tan is seeking for re-election; her brother Vice Governor Stephen James is also seeking for re-election; and her sister Angel is contesting the mayoralty against Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino.

With only six days before Election Day, Villacorte said all is now set on the part of the police to secure the entire region, especially in hot spot areas in Leyte and Samar.  (FREEMAN)

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