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Military chief orders increased checkpoints

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By Joel Guinto
Last updated 04:24pm (Mla time) 04/30/2007

MANILA, Philippines — Armed Forces Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has ordered a nationwide increase in checkpoints in response to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s directive for enhanced cooperation among security forces to thwart rising election-related violence.

But before soldiers can be deployed to election hotspots, the
Commission on Elections (Comelec) needs to deputize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), pursuant to a memorandum of agreement between the poll body and the Department of National Defense (DND), military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said.

Bacarro said the checkpoints would be for the enforcement of the election gun ban and routine security checks, which do not require a prior request from the Comelec.

“The Chief of Staff has directed the chief of operations to direct all units to increase our checkpoints. Actually, these checkpoints can be done independently or in tandem, jointly with the PNP [Philippine National Police] and the Comelec,” Bacarro told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Bacarro said the AFP had long prepared for possible deputation by the Comelec to respond to “serious armed threats.”

“The bottom line is we are ready to provide said assistance once we are deputized by the Commission on Elections based on the recommendation of the Philippine National Police,” he said.

“We are ready and willing to do that, but of course, we will need the deputation coming from the Commission on Elections,” he added.

On Monday morning, San Carlos town Mayor Julian Resuello died at the St. Luke’s Hospital in Quezon City. He was shot Saturday night in a fiesta. His bodyguard also died in the incident.

The incident came less than a week after two people were killed in a shootout in Jaen town, Nueva Ecija province between the feuding political parties of Nueva Ecija Fourth district Representative Rodolfo Antonino and Jaen Mayor Antonio Esquivel.

Nearly 30 people have been reported killed nationwide as rival candidates, many of them members of long-established political clans, have stepped up efforts to sway voters ahead of the May 14 polls.

Nearly 87,000 candidates are vying for 17,000 national and local positions. All 265 House of Representatives seats and half of the 24 Senate seats also are up for grabs.

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Written by joelguinto

Mon+00:002007-04-30T08:55:39+00:00+00:0004b+00:00Mon, 30 Apr 2007 08:55:39 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

Posted in Uncategorized

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