Versoza sees most peaceful elections in RP history
By Artemio Dumlao
The Philippine Star
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet , Philippines – The country would experience the most peaceful elections in history, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.
PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa cited records indicating a marked decrease in election-related violent incidents compared to figures during the 2004 and 2007 elections.
He said that if the trend would continue, then the country is heading toward more peaceful elections on May 10.
Verzosa attributed the decrease in election violence to the strict implementation of the gun ban and monitoring of activities of suspected private armies.
Verzosa made the statement during the command turnover rites of Chief Superintendent Orlando Pestano, who retired last Monday, to Chief Superintendent Villamor Bumanglag as Cordillera regional police director.
Verzosa said there was already a marked decrease in the number of private armies operating at the command of what he described as “unscrupulous” politicians in March, with 24 private armies already disbanded.
Verzosa though admitted the number of identified private armies significantly increased from 88 to 112 last March, but he clarified that the increase was the result of their vigorous campaign to detect and identify the existence of other private armies.
Verzosa said the Zeñarosa Commission, which President Arroyo created to help authorities in dismantling private armies, would continue its task even after the May 10 elections.
He said the commission, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Monina Arevalo Zeñarosa, would continue to monitor private armies and study why they still exist, and submit recommendations to lawmakers in the effort to make gun control laws stronger and more effective.
“Under our gun laws even if you are arrested with a thousand guns, you can still bail out. We find difficulty in this,” Verzosa said.
Verzosa expressed optimism that the next Congress would tackle the problem of gun control and make the laws more effective.