MANILA Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation, on Tuesday urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to go all-out against guns-for-hire and hit squads amid the spate of killings of local officials.
"The killings of local officials happening all over the country is alarming. These are surely election-related and if the PNP does not go all-out against these lawless elements, how can we have a free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections?" Pimentel said.
PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde ordered a crackdown on guns-for-hire and private armed groups (PAGs) in July this year, following the series of killings of local officials in the country. The PNP aims to disarm and arrest these hired guns and PAGs.
Pimentel said the current intensified and relentless operations against these guns-for-hire and private armed groups, especially with the 2019 elections fast approaching, should be part of the PNP's regular operations to effectively promote law and order in the entire country.
"The PNP must show that it is serious in this endeavor. The PNP must disarm these guns-for-hire and hit squads and timely file cases against them with sufficient evidence," Pimentel said.
"Our police force must also improve on their investigation skills so that everyone with links to these syndicates can be brought to the bar of justice. And if the investigation shows that those among their ranks are involved in these illegal activities, then the PNP must purge their ranks of these rotten eggs," he added.
Under the country's penal code, those who employ guns-for-hire are principals in the crime and their liability is the same or as serious as the gunman's. (Senate PR)
Source: Philippine News Agency