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Palace vows safe, orderly midterm polls

President Benigno S. Aquino III (Ryan Lim / Malacañang Photo Bureau)

Malacanang assured that it will go after politicians who maintain private armed groups as the country prepares for the midterm election this May.

The campaign of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to dismantle private armed groups and account for all loose firearms continues to make the upcoming election safe and orderly, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing in Malacanang on Monday.

It was reported that some members of Congress, particularly in the Zamboanga Peninsula, maintain private armies and the proliferation of unlicensed guns remains a concern.

“Yes. Loose firearms are certainly frowned upon. We are going to strengthen the security in that area,” Lacierda told reporters. “We are going to go after all those individuals who are holding loose or unlicensed firearms. Dismantling private armed groups is part of the directive of the President. He said the PNP should go after private armed groups regardless of who they are,” he added.

The President has ordered the PNP to make sure that firearms are accounted for and the gun ban should be strictly enforced particularly in Zamboanga.

“Walang sinasanto ang Pangulo. Pag sinabing private armed groups, di ba bawal yan? Yan ang instruction ni Pangulong Aquino. We had a meeting several months back on the private armed groups and the President made it clear that these groups must be dismantled” Lacierda said.

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