PNP on full alert for barangay polls

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2010 11:41 AM | Updated as of Oct 23 2010 07:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) cancelled all leaves of its 130,000 personnel as it went on nationwide full alert starting Saturday morning for Monday's Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections.

Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz, PNP spokesman, said that on orders of PNP Deputy Director for Operations and Task Force Hope commander, Director Ben Belarmino, the whole police organization went on full alert at 8 a.m..

"As per memo from the Director for Operations, full alert status is declared PNP-wide effective 8 a.m. today. All leaves and vacations cancelled," Cruz said in a text message sent to radio dzMM.

The PNP spokesman said that all police personnel have been ordered to report to their stations.

On Tuesday, PNP chief Raul Bacalzo ordered all field unit commanders to intensify nationwide checkpoint operations against illegal weapons and election law violators.

Bacalzo made the order amid reports of the police's poor compliance with the 24-hour police checkpoints around the country.

"All Regional Directors and subordinate police commanders shall be responsible for the compliance of lower units to the instructions from higher headquarters regarding checkpoints and other related election security operations-- purposely to prevent the movement of armed persons who may cause trouble in the run-up [to the elections] for village leaders across the country," Bacalzo said.

Reports of barangay-election-related violence, including ambuscades in the provinces, started to escalate as the campaigns for the Barangay and SK Elections went full blast.

Berlarmino on Friday said the PNP had recorded a total of 25 election-related violent incidents since the implementation of the nationwide election gun ban on September 25.

He said the number is lower compared to the 2007 Barangay and SK elections.

Belarmino attributed the lower violence to the increased number of mobile checkpoints and more extensive security checks nationwide.

As of Friday, a total of 543 gun ban violators had been arrested and 458 firearms seized by police since the ban was implemented.