file photo courtesy of PRO-8
Police Chief Supt. Gilberto Cruz, PRO-8 Regional Director.

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has deployed nearly 200 policemen to the first legislative district of Samar to help secure the upcoming village and youth council elections.

“I am committing the whole battalion of the Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) PNP to ensure peaceful and orderly elections,” said Chief Supt. Gilberto Cruz during the elections security preparations meeting here Wednesday.

Reports shows that a total of 173 shooting incidents were reported since 2016 in Calbayog City, and Gandara, Sta. Margarita, Matuguinao and San Jorge towns, all in Samar.

These incidents were allegedly perpetrated by lawless groups in the province.

Three personalities were arrested so far while 20 individuals have standing warrants of arrest.

He appealed for the cooperation of the local chief executives for them to capture criminals, especially those with warrants of arrest.

Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino appealed to Cruz that the newly-deployed men in the province must be under the supervision of the region and not under the province.

“It is better to be that way so that there will be no question of bias,” Aquino said.

Cruz assured that the battalion will still be under the regional police especially that there are existing directives to knock on the doors of erring officials in villages with history of poll-related violence in the past.

The police official urged the public to immediately report to the nearest police station if they encounter harassment from candidates, political supporters, and armed rebels.

On April 27, Christopher Branzuela, who is running for village chief this coming elections, and his father Melanio were fatally shot by motorcycle-riding men in an isolated buy viagra area in Catabunan village in Calbayog City.

Investigators found that the victim had a recent rift with a fellow resident in Catabunan village, who opposed his plan to vie for the post. The police declined to name the suspect, but confirmed that the shooting is election-related. (Jennifer Allegado/PNA)