LEGAZPI CITY (4-Feb-2013/PNA) – Chief Supt. Clarence Guinto, Bicol police director, has assured the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of a relentless conduct, in accordance with the commission’s guidelines and in full honor of the service, of checkpoints for the implementation of the gun ban across the region.
In a recent forum with the media at the Embarcadero De Legazpi in this city, Guinto said the validation teams from every provincial police office in the region deployed to check the conduct of checkpoints in towns and cities have not reported any police unit found not in the place and time of scheduled checkpoint operation.
The recent haul of gun ban implementation was the arrest of a riding in tandem in Sto. Domingo, Albay, over the weekend and the immediate filing of charges against the suspects for illegal possession of firearms in violation of Comelec regulations.
Senior Insp. Edgar Azotea, town police chief, reported to Guinto that they were manning the checkpoint along Barangay San Isidro of the said town before dawn Saturday when they received a request for police assistance from a nearby night establishment.
Some of his men left the checkpoint and responded to the scene but along the way they chanced upon the suspects parked on the roadside beside a passenger tricycle.
The suspects tried to confuse the police by saying they were out of gas and asking the tricycle driver to tow their motorcycle.
One of them was seen placing inside the tricycle a black bag which later was confirmed with a .38-caliber revolver inside and upon checking the suspects’ motorcycle, they found out the fuel tank remained almost full with gasoline.
The arrested suspects later turned out to be the same suspects in the string of car theft activities in this city and the adjacent towns of Daraga and Santo Domingo.
Guinto said policemen have been briefed about possible alibis or strategies by suspects to hide firearms, especially when nearing or are flagged down at the checkpoint areas.
“We are grateful that out of all the arrests we made since the start of the gun ban, our men have not been on situations of the same magnitude as those reported in other areas. But our policemen are keen in pursuing intensified checkpoint operations in the region,” Guinto said.
Late last month, he issued memoranda to all provincial police offices for submission of a daily consolidated accomplishment report on the conduct of Comelec checkpoints, intelligence-related patrol system, and enhanced visibility and security measures in highly populated areas–all in relation to the ongoing election period.
The memorandum to the Masbate Provincial Police Office has additional order–to work closely with the Regional Special Operation Task Group (RSOTG) deployed in the area in launching an all-out campaign against the existence and use of private armed groups (PAGS) by politicians in the province.
At least 188 checkpoints have been established across the region manned by not less than 1,000 policemen.
Teams from RSOTG have been deployed in provinces with declared Categoy 1 and Category 2 election hot spots while operatives from the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) are deployed in every town and municipal station to assist in the conduct of checkpoints. (PNA)