PNP validating 60 private armies across PH

Posted at 11/11/12 1:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Director Alan Purisima said the police are currently validating 60 private armed groups that they seek to dismantle in preparation for the midterm elections.

In an interview with radio dzRB, he said they currently have a list of 60, which he could not disclose for security purposes. He also did not commit to a number that the police will dismantle before the 2013 elections.

Purisima, who is the head of Task Force Halalan, said they are still trying to gather pieces of evidence from witnesses in order that they can secure search warrants against these private armies.

“We need to present a credible witness so that we can get a search warrant,” he said.

He said the private armies are still spread across the country, but they will target the most active, specifically in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Asked if a big chunk is still in that area, he said: “We’re confirming all information that have been in previous lists in 2010, 2007 and 2004…We will target first the most active.”

Task Force Halalan was created on a directive from President Benigno Aquino III.

Dismantling private armies has long been a problem especially during the election period. Many officials still employ armies in different provinces.

In March, Aquino claimed that the PNP has already neutralized around 28 groups.