Cop, 5 more nabbed in anti-private army operations

Posted at 04/23/10 11:18 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Six suspected members of politicians' private armies, including a police officer, were arrested in separate operations in Masbate province and Davao City, officials reported Friday.

Superintendent Querubin Manalang, Davao City police spokesman, said Inspector Herman Matillano and Hero Robilla were arrested from their hideout in San Jose Street, Barangay Lanang.

Manalang said Matillano is assigned to the Philippine National Police (PNP) national headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Seized from the policeman and his buddy were 2 pieces of .45 pistol, a 9mm pistol, a grenade and several ammunition.

Manalang said that 2 are suspected members of a local politician in Davao region.

In Masbate, 4 gunmen suspected as members of a politicians' private army were arrested after a brief shootout with policemen.

Senior Superintendent Eddie Benicay, Masbate provincial police director, identified the suspects as Arnold Santianes, Dennis Salvador, Diony Espinosa and Arbito Gailan.

Benicay said the 4 suspects were arrested after a brief shootout with policemen in Barangay Naboctot.

The PNP, through Task Force Against Partisan Armed Groups, has stepped up its operations against private armies nationwide to prevent election violence.

The Independent Commission Against Private Armies had said authorities have disbanded only 24 private armies.

A total of 174 more armed groups believed to be formed by local politicians remain at large. -- Report from Noel Alamar, radio dzMM