Private Armed Groups
During elections, what worries law enforcement authorities or so they said are the existence of private armed groups (PAGS) which are being allegedly maintained by politicians. This is especially so in the three provinces of Samar Island. Those PAGs usually intimidate voters, use coercion, force voters to vote for the candidates who hired them and, in many cases, use violence and even election-related killings. Thus, in areas where PAGs exist there is disruption of peaceful, orderly and smooth election results.
If we are to hear the pronouncements of police and military authorities, it seems that PAGs are really not being dismantled because every elections there is always talks of dismantling of PAGs, identifying them in certain areas, even identifying municipalities in Samar and Eastern Samar where they exist.
Few weeks ago, a top military official in the region has vowed to identify and dismantle PAGs or wherever they exist. Has those PAGs not yet been dismantled before? PAGs has always been the subject of talks by police authorities every election period over and over again and yet it seems it is still there.
Have those PAGs became untouchable? Are the law-enforcement agencies afraid of the ire of powerful politicians who are said to be maintaining those PAGs if they will really go after them and dismantle them and put them in jail?
It is quite becoming amusing even tiresome to hear of police and military authorities talking of identifying and dismantling PAGs when election nears and then when the next election comes it is the same story all over again.
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