The Philippine National Police is monitoring three private armed groups in Negros Oriental and eight in Central Visayas that may be hired for the May 13 elections.
Of the 11 groups under close watch in the region, Police Region 7 director, Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo Jr. said three are in Negros Oriental, and he identified them as the Tanasan-Libron, Dumas-ug, and Desperado groups.
The Dumas-ug Group, headed by a certain Sunny Bacolod, is believed to be operating in Canlaon City; the Desperado Group, whose leader is a certain Rolando Mallari, in the central part of the province; and the Tanasan-Libron in Bayawan City, he added.
While Jasper Tanasan, alleged leader of the Tanasan-Libron group had been arrested last year, the other members are also being watched, he said.
The police monitoring report dated April 9 this year showed that they are assessing 11 groups for their “potentials” to become PAGs.
Three of the groups are in Cebu province, with 26 members and 22 firearms; three in Negros Oriental, with 40 members and 18 firearms; and two in Bohol, with seven members and nine firearms.
Garbo said the Police Regional Office 7 is 100 percent ready to ensure safety and security, and maintain peace and order during the elections. He admitted that the big challenge the police is facing is the possibility that contending political parties may resort to violence.
But he said the PNP has mapped out contingency plans and response teams to fully carry out their functions in the May 13 polls.*JFP
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