The Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) has launched a threat assessment on elected government officials in the province amid the spate of attacks against incumbent officials in various parts of the country, the latest of which was the brazen assassination of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo in broad daylight on Saturday.
According BPPO chief Col. Lorenzo Bataun, no less than Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Rodolfo Azurin, Jr. personally relayed to him the order during the top cop’s first command visit in Bohol on Friday last week, even before Degamo was slain.
The order stemmed from the recent string of violent attacks on Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr., Aparri, Cagayan Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda and Datu Montawal, Maguindanao Mayor Ohto Caumbo Montawal.
“Mao na ang usa sa mga command items na iyang [Azurin] gihatag sa atoa atol sa iyang pagbisita na we have to conduct a strict assessment sa atoang mga local politicians considering ang mga nahitabo sa mga niaging adlaw,” said Batuan.
Batuan added that he will also order the PNP Security and Protection Unit in the province to conduct seminars and trainings for police officers designated as escorts of government officials.
The police chief also noted that they have not detected in the province the presence of any armed or organized crime group, which he believes could possibly be utilized in the assassination of politicians.
“Kanunay ang atong validation ana and kaluoy sa Ginoo so far wala tay na identify na organized crime group dinhi sa atong probinsya,” Batuan said.
On Saturday last week, at least six men armed with assault rifles and wearing military-style camouflage and bulletproof vests alighted from three SUVs and opened fire on Degamo at his residential compound in Pamplona town.
Degamo and eight others were killed during the assault which was carried out in broad daylight and in front of multiple witnesses at past 9 a.m.
Philippine Army and the PNP Special Action Force personnel immediately conducted hot pursuit operations which resulted in the apprehension of three of the suspects also on Saturday.
Later on the same day, another suspect who allegedly resisted arrest and fired at incoming state troopers was killed.
Meanwhile, authorities were still on the look out for “five to seven” other suspects.
Degamo was the latest and fourth victim in a series of shootings against local government officials over the past two weeks.
Batuan however noted that based on the police’s initial probe, the previous four attack on politicians were not connected.
“Lahi-lahi ni og motive. Dili ni sila connected kining sa tulo ka probinsya,” said Batuan. (RT)