Lacson alarmed by spate of killings ahead of May polls

MANILA — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday expressed alarm over the spate of killings involving incumbent public officials, particularly election-related violence ahead of the May 2019 polls.

Lacson made the statement as the Senate committee on public order started its inquiry into the political killings in the country.

“The significant increase in the number of victims of election-related violence has become very alarming. As a result, we are all here today to assess and discuss possible legislative measures or amendments to our existing laws in response to our concern at hand,” Lacson said.

Lacson said his committee will look into the policies being implemented by law enforcement for prevention, treatment and response to politically motivated and election-related crimes.

He added that the recent policies regarding the ownership, possession and carrying of firearms will be reviewed.

The panel would also consider the measures being implemented to curb the problem of private armed groups or private armies; and the relationship of these crimes to political monopoly.

Senator Benigno Aquino IV filed Senate Resolution No. 901 which seeks to investigate the assassination of and attacks against local government officials.

Senate Resolution No. 979, filed by Senator Grace Poe, urges the committee to look into the political killings that claimed the lives of incumbent public officials, with the end goal of formulating more effective measures of law enforcement and investigation.

Meanwhile, Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed Senate Resolution No. 1008 which seeks to conduct a congressional inquiry on the killing of Richard Santillan, the security aide of former lawmaker and election reform advocate Glenn Chong.

Department of the Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Bernardo Florece Jr. cited data from the Philippine National Police showing that a total of 12 mayors and seven vice mayors were killed from July 1, 2016 to Jan. 29, 2019. PNA –