Anti drugs cops told to engage armed vote buyers

The bulk of the police force in Western Visayas has been deployed to perform election duties.

But during the send-off ceremony for thousands of policemen who will render election duties last May 6, 2019, it was learned that anti-illegal drugs police operatives are not part of the deployment.

Police Brigadier General John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, said the 121 anti-drug cops will still carry out their mandate to run after illegal drugs.

“The 121 personnel would remain intact to sustain the momentum of our operations,” he said.

But following “developments” in the May 13 polls, Bulalacao added a new order to the Regional Drug Enforcement Unit’s mandate: run after vote buyers.

“Meron silang trabaho ngayon. Focused sila ngayon sa vote buying,” Bulalacao said.

The region’s top cop said the RDEU personnel will still focus on illegal drugs, but right now their primary concern is to address the rampant vote buying activities, particularly in Iloilo province,” he said.

“I told the troops to engage those individuals who are carrying firearms while buying votes,” he said.

Bulalacao cited a case in Bacoor, Cavite years ago where armed men who were perceived to be buying votes engaged in an armed encounter with authorities.

Bulalacao said that “almost all municipalities in Iloilo are afflicted or grievously affected by vote buying.”

On Wednesday, he was in Bacolod City to oversee the preparations for Monday’s elections.

Unlike in Iloilo province, Bulalacao said he did not receive any reports of vote buying in Negros.

“Iloilo lang talaga marami. Even in Antique, I did not receive any reports of vote buying activities,” he said.

In Capiz, Bulalacao said he only received of alleged vote buying in Pilar town.

“I already had that checked with the provincial director (Police Colonel Canilo Fuentes),” he said.

Bulalacao said his phone used to receive numerous messages on information relative to illegal drugs operations.

However, messages on vote buying activities had filled his phone’s messages.

With four days to go before the casting of votes, “I hope all of us would do our part in having an honest, orderly, peaceful, and credible elections,” Bulalacao said.