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Philippines orders troops to stop growing violence

Philippines orders troops to stop growing violence

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo ordered the military yesterday to help police crush "private armies" and maintain order amid escalating violence in the run up to May's mid-term elections.
She made the announcement hours after the mayor of the northern city of San Carlos, Julian Resuello, died after being shot in the latest incident of political bloodshed that has marred the run-up to the polls.
One of his aides died instantly and seven others were also wounded in Saturday's attack. The mayor of Morong near Manila survived a separate attack when gunmen sprayed his house with automatic weapons fire.
"I am calling on the armed forces to reinforce the police, under (election commission) authority, to stop election violence and move forcefully against those using threats and intimidation for partisan politics," Arroyo said.
"All identified private armies must be preempted and dismantled."
The Philippines goes to the polls on May 14 to elect 12 senators, the entire 230-seat House of Representatives and thousands of local officials from town councils to mayors and provincial governors.
But elections here are often marred by violence, with rival politicians, especially in the provinces, maintaining armed groups - effectively private militias - to intimidate or harass opponents.
On Thursday, a town council candidate and a policeman were killed in an ambush by suspected political rivals in the town of Jaen in northern Nueva Ecija province.
Seventeen others were wounded, including three policemen, leading the election commission to place the province under its security watch to prevent further bloodshed.
Resuello's son said prior to the attack his father had received threats from a political rival he declined to identify.
The elder Resuello was shot by two men who posed as his supporters as he made his way through a crowd. Police said they recovered several slugs from handguns used in the attack.
"The plaza was fully packed when this happened. I do believe this is politically motivated," Julier Resuello said.
"A lot of his constituents are mourning his death," he said. "The fight will continue."
Manila's army chief Major General Benjamin Dolorfino said troops were focused on continuing "internal security operations" but were prepared to help poll officials in maintaining peace.


Updated : 2021-04-24 02:28 GMT+08:00