(UPDATE) THE Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said that it has dismantled some 20 private armed groups (PAG) as part of their preparations to ensure that the elections in May will be peaceful and orderly.
PNP spokeswoman Col. Jean Fajardo said in a radio interview that the majority of the 20 PAGs are in the Bangsamoro region.
"More or less nasa 20 na po 'yung ating na-dismantle, na-disband at na-delist po doon sa listahan natin ng mga private armed group (Around 20 PAGs have been dismantled, disbanded and delisted from the list)," she said.
Fajardo said that based on their investigations, the politicians themselves hire the PAG members.
She said that once sufficient evidence has been gathered, they will name the politicians and file charges against them for employing PAGs.
Fajardo said that the National Task Force for the Disbandment of Private Armed Groups will come out with an official resolution that will delist the three remaining active pre-identified PAGs.
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On April 18, President Rodrigo Duterte warned the candidates running in this year's elections that having more than two bodyguards constitutes maintaining a private army, which is a violation of the country's laws.
"We have decided and have communicated this with the Cabinet... The rule should really be followed... that more than two bodyguards would be considered a private army," the President said.
Duterte added that candidates who think that they are facing danger can coordinate with the police.