MANILAAt least five people were killed in legitimate police operations during the first three days of the intensified conduct of police checkpoints in line with the gun ban for this year's mid-term elections, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Wednesday.
Chief Supt. Joel Coronel, Police Regional Office 3 (Central Luzon) director, said the number includes two suspects in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and one in San Antonio, Nueva Ecija, both on Sunday and two in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija on Monday.
All of the suspects were killed after disregarding checkpoints and firing at apprehending police officers.
"That's a result of legitimate operations. These were criminal suspects who evaded legitimate Comelec (Commission on Elections) checkpoints," PNP spokesperson, Chief Supt. Benigno Durana, said in a television interview.
Durana made the remark following concerns of rising casualties due to election checkpoints as he stressed that only lawless elements were killed in these operations.
They decided to shoot it out with our police operatives, which resulted in the suspects' death. These are criminal elements. If you are not a criminal, why would you evade legitimate law enforcement operations. Those who were killed were plotting to do evil acts. The fact that we were able to neutralize them means we were able to prevent their criminal activities, he said.
Durana reiterated his appeal to motorists to cooperate and bear with police officers manning checkpoints.
He, however, noted that there will be no let-up in the conduct of checkpoints in line with the election period.
"We will continue to do this. This is part of creating an enabling environment so that we can achieve the desired outcome that we are foreseeinga level playing field where violence will not rise --because we want to make sure that our elections are fair, honest, credible and peaceful," the PNP spokesperson noted.
Earlier, PNP Chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde, said field reports from the Police Regional Offices continue to come in regarding the results of the implementation of Comelec Resolution No. 10468, which provides guidelines on the establishment and operation of checkpoints for the mid-term polls.
There will be daily updates of reported gun ban violations for the entire duration of the election period through the Election Monitoring and Action Centers in the national, regional and provincial levels, he said.
Aside from being a deputized agency of the poll body, the PNP is also tasked to dismantle private armed groups, provide security to vulnerable candidates, lead the accounting for loose firearms, and neutralize gun-for-hire and criminal gangs. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency