Abra vice mayor, 4 others face raps over standoff with cops

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has filed charges against Pilar, Abra Vice Mayor Jaja Josefina Disono and four others following a standoff between the police and her bodyguards after they ignored a checkpoint at the town center last March 30.

In a statement on Thursday, PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos said complaints for violation of the Expanded Trafficking in Persons Act were filed against Disono and her brother, Pilar town Mayor Mark Somera.

Meanwhile, facing charges of serious disobedience to an agent or person in authority are Robert Toreno and Emmanuel Valera, both employees of the Pilar municipal government and Disono’s helper Jericho Bufil.

Bufil was also charged with attempted murder.

“The cases filed are the product of the evidence and testimonies that our police investigators were able to gather. Those involved individuals will be made to submit themselves to the judicial proceeding,” Carlos said.

The case stemmed from a standoff at the house of Disono where armed men sought refuge after running through a police checkpoint and shooting at their patrol car.

Killed in the shootout was Sandee Boy Bermudo, one of Disono’s security aides.

Following the incident, a 9mm firearm registered under Disono was also recovered from the vehicle.

Investigation showed that Disono has not availed any exemption from the election gun ban for her to be allowed to carry firearms outside of her residence.

Warning

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año warned all candidates to refrain from employing private armies.

“This is a warning to all political candidates, stop using armed goons, stop using intimidation and force to influence the voters. There will be no sacred cows. The PNP is committed to enforcing the law strictly for everyone. No fear and no favor,” Año said in a joint presser with the PNP and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Camp Crame.

The DILG chief also blasted Disono for her actions and defended the police officers.

“This is a blatant violation of the law and of course the Omnibus Election Code. First, they have armed bodyguards which are prohibited by the Comelec. Second, they ran through the checkpoint and sped off to the direction of the vice mayor’s house, despite the effort of the PNP to really exercise maximum tolerance,” he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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