NPA hitmen may be tapped for political assassinations amid midterm polls preps

Published December 4, 2018, 1:29 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Aaron Recuenco

Erring commanders of the New People’s Army (NPA) could offer the services of their hitmen to errant politicians who want to eliminate their rivals for the midterm elections next year.

PNP Chief Dir. Gen Oscar Albayalde, speaks during a press conference about the recently concluded Barangay and SK Election 2018, at the PNP National Election Monitoring Center (NEMAC) at Camp Crame in Quezon City, May 15 2018. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)
PNP Chief Dir. Gen Oscar Albayalde
(Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)

Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said such possibility is not farfetched, noting that the intelligence community has been monitoring some misled guerrilla fronts in some parts of the country.

“There is also a likelihood that some misled guerilla fronts and enterprising commanders may offer the services of Special Partisan Unit and Special Operations Group for political assassination,” said Albayalde.

The official made the statement after stressing that liquidation squads of the NPA still exist and are blamed for 136 deaths recorded by the police and the military.

Based on the police data, some of those allegedly assassinated by the NPA hit squads are politicians—the latest was ex-mayor Aran Boller of Matuginao, Samar.

Security officials consider the communist rebels as one of the biggest security threats every election because of the NPA’s alleged permit-to-campaign from local candidates.

This is the reason, according to Albayalde, why the government must act to contain the movement and eventually stop the operational activities of the NPA hit squads.

“This specialized capability of the NPA should be addressed with an equally-specialized counter measure to reduce the potential for further attacks on soft targets,” said Albayalde.

Police are on top of the security arrangements for the midterm elections on May 13 next year. The PNP leadership earlier ordered its commanders to prepare early amid the series of assassinations on local officials.

Based on the PNP data, almost 8,000 barangays are on the initial hot spot list for next year’s polls. On the other hand, at least 77 partisan armed groups are considered threats to the elections, almost all of them are in Mindanao.