Monday, May 10, 2010

Army Soldiers Nabbed for Partisan Political Activity in CamNorte

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, CamSur – Two military personnel and one policeman were collared by elements of the Camarines Norte Provincial Police Office during a COMELEC checkpoint operation yesterday at 6:00pm (May 9), a military report said.

Major Harold M Cabunoc, 9th ID Spokesman, identified the two Army soldiers as Corporal Joemarie Garete, 32, and Private First Class Melvin Bongat, 23, both assigned with the 31st Infantry Battalion based in Sipocot, Camarines Sur.

Cabunoc said that the two soldiers were with four other companions including a policeman, riding an Isuzu Altera with plate number ZMW 550.

Police Senior Inspector David Reyes, the apprehending officer, identified the arrested policeman as Police Officer 2 Randy Raro, 32, an organic personnel of the Camarines Norte PPO, detailed security escort of Lakas-Kampi gubernatorial candidate Winifredo Oco.

Reyes also named the three other companions as Joemar Bardon, 30, Rodrigo Villafuerte, 34, and Edgar Villafuerte, all reported to be working for Oco.

During the detailed search on the vehicle, three more firearms were confiscated including two Cal .45 pistols and a Cal 5.56mm M16A1 Rifle. The M16 Rifle was reportedly issued to Police Officer 2 Ronald Liwag, another security detail for Oco.

The three apprehended personnel are now detained in Camarines Norte PPO as a case of violation of the RA 8294 (illegal possession of firearms) is readied against them.

LtCol Luis Rex D Bergante, Commander of the 31st Infantry Battalion said that the two soldiers will be recommended for dishonorable discharge from the service.

“We will never tolerate any violators of the AFP directives regarding elections. I have always reminded them to avoid engaging in partisan political activity. I have also relieved the Company Commander of these soldiers due to command responsibility,”said Bergante.

The members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines had always been reminded to avoid engaging in partisan political activity. To ensure that soldiers are well informed, several information campaigns had been launched launched by military authorities to echo the directives published by higher headquarters.

In compliance to the joint operating guidelines for all AFP and PNP personnel, soldiers and policemen are not supposed to be detailed as security escorts if it is not approved by the Joint Security Coordination Center (JSCC).

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