By Aaron Recuenco
Police killed six suspected members of a gun-for-hire group in a runup to the midterm elections amid the killings of local chief executives and potential candidates in the past months.
Chief Supt. Edward Caranza, director of the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) regional police, said the group is a remnant of the notorious ‘Waray-Waray’ gang which was involved in various criminal activities in the past years.
But Caranza said the six-man group, led by a certain Henry, was busted in a drug-bust in Barangay San Isidro, Rodriguez town of Rizal at around 8 a.m. yesterday.
Aside from the leader of the group, also killed were certain Jun Payat, Atan, Hogan, and Margarito Pizana Jr. The sixth fatality is still unidentified.
“This started as a drug-bust. They fought off and this led to the shootout,” Caranza said.
Seized from the slain suspects were a .45 pistol, a .40 pistol, a 9mm pistol, a revolver, a hand grenade and some 50 grams of shabu packed in several plastic sachets.
“They were also involved in carnapping and robbery cases,” Caranza said.
The Calabarzon regional police have stepped up the operation against gun-for-hire groups as part of the early election security preparations.
The police intelligence community points to criminal syndicates who would transform into gun-for-hire as election nears. Calabarzon is one of the hotspots on gun-for-hire activities.
At least 11 mayors and six vice mayors were killed in the past two years, some of them are running for election in the midterm polls next year.
This prompted the PNP leadership to order all regional directors to start the election security preparations, including offensive against criminal syndicates.
The PNP leadership earlier tagged almost 8,000 barangays as potential election hotspots for next year’s elections.