By Aaron Recuenco
Police have arrested 23 incumbent local officials in the series of operations against persons and groups that authorities deemed to threaten the peaceful conduct of midterm elections next month.
General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the 23 local officials are among the 168 people arrested from March 22 to 28.
He identified some of those arrested as Tubajon, Dinagat Island Mayor Romeo Vargas; and, Tagbina, Surigao del Sur Vice Mayor Antonio Adlao. The rest of those arrested were town councilors and barangay officials.
“These operations are aimed at ensuring that the elections are peaceful. We just want to make sure that they would not threaten the elections,” said Albayalde.
The operations, according to him, also resulted in the confiscation of 137 firearms and 34 explosives.
P/ Maj.Gen. Amador Corpus, director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said they will continue target members of partisan armed groups and private goons of politicians.
“Let this be a stern warning to all especially those firearms holders that the CIDG is serious in its campaign against loose firearms and that offenders, regardless of their status, will be subjected to such police operations if they fail to surrender their loose firearms,” said Corpus.
The official said they will continue the operations even after the election period ends.
The election period ends on June 13.
Both Albayalde and Corpus urged the public to report all groups and politicians who are maintaining private goons, saying some of the local executives arrested were a result of public cooperation.