6 PAG members arrested in Region 1

CAMP BGEN OSCAR M FLORENDO, La Union–Five members of partisan armed groups (PAGs), four of them from Pangasinan and one from La Union, have so far been neutralized by the police in the Ilocos Region.

Chief Superintendent Constante Azares Jr., regional director of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the arrests are in line with the police’s mission to ensure honest, orderly and peaceful election on May 10.

“Our operatives are undertaking continuous intelligence monitoring of the PAGs’ activities in coordination with other intelligence units in the region,” Azares said in a press conference last week.

Police reports indicate there are at least 11 PAGs operating in Region 1, six of which are believed to be operating in Pangasinan.

Azares, however, declined to reveal labels of the PAGs and their suspected members pending more planned arrests.

“For each identified PAG, we form a special task group that plans for the PAG’s neutralization,” he said.

Checkpoint operations have also been stepped up to monitor and restrict the movements of PAG members.

Based on police data, the Region 1 police have conducted a total 3,696 checkpoint operations; arrested 69 persons for violating the gun ban; and confiscated 45 firearms.

Azares also said stringent security preparations are now being undertaken by the police regional office with the Commission on Elections and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Neutralized members of identified PAGs so far were Dennis Serquina, who was arrested in October 2009 and Warlito Rodrigito, arrested in December 2009, both members of the Alvin Flores Gang that figured in the Rolex Store robbery at Glorietta Makati.

Rodrigito was identified as a utility worker in the office of San Nicolas Mayor Leoncio Saldivar III. Serquinia is also from San Nicolas.

Also arrested were Armando Flores and Nicolas Laroya, also from Pangasinan and one Alvin Uniag from Naguilian, La Union.—LM

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