• Malacañang ramps up campaign against crime

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    MALACAÑANG on Monday expressed “serious concern” over the recent spate of violent crimes that prompted an anti-crime watchdog to call for the revival of the death penalty by Congress.

    The Palace directed all law enforcement agencies to intensify their crime prevention programs.

    Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the police should conduct more operations and the public should help by “intensified vigilance” against crimes.

    Coloma said the Philippine National Police (PNP) should improve its intelligence gathering to preempt criminals from staging attacks.

    He gave assurances that President Benigno Aquino 3rd “takes a very serious and hands-on attitude when it comes to crime and police matters.”

    “I have actually witnessed that he has called up a par–ticular officer to inquire about an incident report or to make sure that a report on a serious crime is being handled properly and with utmost urgency,” he told reporters.

    Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. heads the Cabinet cluster on law and order which keeps tabs on all security issues and the peace and order situation nationwide.

    The cluster includes the heads of the Department of National Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government and even the Department of Foreign Affairs.

    “[Ochoa] is not micro-managing these agencies,” Coloma said.

    Meanwhile, in Pangasinan province, 14 persons including Mayor Ernesto Balolong Jr. of Urbiztondo town were reportedly killed and 12 others were injured in at least 15 shooting incidents during the months of May up to June 14.

    Based on reports of the chiefs of police to the provincial police office, eight shooting incidents happened in May and seven occurred from June 1 to15.

    Two of the eight shooting incidents in May were solved while six of the seven shooting incidents in June were unsolved.

    Three shooting incidents took place in Dagupan City, one in Urbiztondo town and two in Mangatarem including the murder of Mayor Balolong and his security police escort. The towns of Bugallon, Infanta, San Fabian, Mangaldan, Sta Maria, Calasiao and the two cities of Urdaneta and San Carlos reported one shooting incident each.

    The Bugallon police has solved the murder on May 2 of Armando Aquino of Barangay Salomague Norte who was shot several times using caliber nine-millimeter pistols by two suspected guns for hire identified as Mark Aquino and Jaymark Bautista.

    Aquino and Bautista are still at large and have been charged for murder before the Lingayen prosecutor’s office.

    On May 12, at 2:45 p.m., a farmer identified as Dionisio Saura of Barangay Pampano, Mangatarem town was shot dead by two unidentified criminals riding in tandem using a 9-mm pistol while walking on their barangay road.

    On May 18, a lending collector identified as Anselmo Narvasa of Brgy. Landas, Mangaldan town was shot dead. According to the victim’s mother, the suspect knocked at their door and when she opened it, the suspect immediately shot the victim three times, killing him instantly.

    In Dagupan City, Rewel Bu–gayong of Brgy. Amado Tapuac, a suspected robber, was shot by an unidentified assassin using a 45-caliber pistol at the wake of his neighbor at about 12 midnight of May 20.

    In the morning of May 24, a farmer resident of Sitio Locat in Barangay Baug in Urbiztondo town was shot to death by still unknown two criminals riding in tandem while on his way to the town proper to buy rice.

    On May 27, the San Fabian PNP station solved the shooting of a certain Reynaldo Malicdem, an active member of the Civilian Volunteers Organization of Barangay Nibaliw East, San Fabian, who was shot by a certain Melnio Gutierrez using a 38-caliber revolver.

    On the same day, a tricycle driver identified as Danilo Dereja, 20, was shot dead by two unidentified men riding in tandem using 45-caliber and 9-mm pistols in Barangay Poblacion.

    The injured passengers who survived were identified as Norylyn Pascua and her two children John, 10, and Kristel, 12.

    On June 2, a 55-year-old US citizen identified as Florida Oliviano was shot to death while her maid, Susana Lucena, was seriously wounded when unidentified gunmen believed to be guns for hire shot them several times.

    On June 7, at about 9 a.m., Mayor Balolong of Ubiztondo town and two others including his police escort were killed while four others were seriously wounded when Eduardo de Guzman and Marito Sarmiento fired at them.

    On the following day, the police provincial office announced the arrest of de Guzman and Sar–miento. The police filed charges of multiple murder and one count of attempted murder against them at the provincial prosecutor office in San Carlos City.

    On June 12, the cadaver of an unidentified man believed to be a victim of a shooting incident was recovered by the barangay officials in a rice field in Barangay Banaoang.

    On June 11, a 16-year-old boy was killed and his two com–panions were seriously wounded when they were ambushed by two criminals riding in tandem along the provincial road in Barangay Dorongan Punta, Mangatarem town.

    On June 13, incumbent Punong Barangay Jake Reyes of Amado Tapuac, Dagupan City was shot by an unknown gunman inside his office.

    In a June 14 briefing, PNP Director General Alan Purisima directed the provincial police office headed by Sr. Supt. Sterling Raymund Blanco to intensify campaign against gun-for-hire syndicates and other lawless elements and ordered the suspension of permit to carry firearms in the province.

    With Jaime Aquino

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