8 dead in 51 post-election incidents: PNP

MANILA A total of eight people were killed and 14 were injured in 51 incidents of violence after the May 13 elections, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday.

PNP spokesman, Col. Bernard Banac said based on National Election Monitoring Action Center (NEMAC) from May 14 to 29, most of the victims are barangay officials while some are Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials.

As of Thursday, Banac said 21 of the 51 cases were already solved while 22 are still under investigation.

Since the election period began in January, the PNP recorded 43 election-related attacks involving 73 victims while during the Election Day (May 13), the PNP also recorded 41 incidents ranging from commotion, mauling, and shooting incidents.

"The PNP chief warns those perpetrators: we will crack you down. We will double our efforts against those involved in these incidents and put them all behind bars," Banac told reporters in a press briefing on Thursday.

While barangay officials are supposed to be apolitical, they usually serve as the point persons of candidates running for governor, congressman and mayor especially the incumbents seeking reelection.

In some cases, barangay officials also serve as the contacts for vote-buying activities.

"While it is still premature to make early conclusions at this point, our actions will be guided by available facts and evidence at hand, and others that may be obtained later in the course of the investigation," said Banac.

"We are confident that in due time, we will achieve a breakthrough in our investigation under the same investigative framework that we applied in similar cases of violence against elected government officials," he added.

Meanwhile, the PNP is also preparing for the 2022 national and local polls vowing to sustain its safety and fairness.

PNP deputy chief for operations, Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, who is also the commander of the Security Task Force 2019 Midterm Elections, said that the public greatly appreciated the PNP's campaign against vote selling and buying, based on the post-election assessment of the task force.

"We take this incident seriously which have been a practice for many years and immediately take actions to arrest these vote sellers and buyers," Gamboa said.

He added that most of the vote-buying and selling cases are now filed in the courts.

Along with this unprecedented effort, the PNP will also sustain and further implement the Oplan Baklas campaign against illegal or misplaced campaign posters and materials for the 2022 polls.

The PNP's three-year preparation plan for the 2022 national and local elections includes reduction if not totally prevent election-related incidents, reduction of risk factors such as private-armed groups, loose firearms, criminal gangs, and terrorism and make sure that there will be no failure of elections.

Moreover, PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde noted that there will be additional police equipment that would bolster the police force in securing and ensuring fair and safe elections in 2022 as the PNP will acquire additional 10 helicopters and 50 high-speed watercraft within three years.

He also mentioned that part of the preparation is the selection of new roster of PNP officials who will take the helm of the Task Force as most of today's police generals and senior officers would be retired by 2022. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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