LEGAZPI CITY — A week before the local election campaign begins, the Regional Special Operations Task Group-Masbate (RSOTG-Masbate) arrested a leader of a private armed group (PAG) identified with former governor Antonio Kho, Senior Inspector Art Gomez, task force spokesman, said Saturday.
Gomez identified the PAG leader as Marvin Galvo, 28, single and resident of Barangay Pinamalatican, Mobo, Masbate.
The RSTOG-Masbate nabbed Galvo by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Teofilo B. Tambago, presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 46, Masbate City, for murder of village chieftain Eric R. Sanay of Barangay Lalaguna, Mobo, Masbate on Feb. 22, with no bail recommended.
Gomez said Galvo is the leader of the Galvo Group under the umbrella organization of the Quidato Group, a well-known PAG operating in the island-province of Masbate.
Quidato used to be the provincial jail warden during the time of Kho as governor but he was killed by a fellow inmate while serving a term in the National Bilibid Prisons.
“He (Galvo) was the No. 1 most wanted person in Mobo town and was nabbed at 5 a.m. at the mountainous portion of Purok Balig-Ang, Barangay Umabay Interior, Mobo, Masbate, a threatened barangay,” he said.
Galvo was collared by the joint elements of the Mobo Municipal Police Station (MMPS) led by Police Insp. Alvaro C. Ventabal and the 3rd Maneuver Platoon of the Masbate Police Provincial Safety Company led by Inspector Ceferino Papa Jr.
Recovered from Galvo’s possession were a caliber .45 TM Norinco pistol with six live ammunition and one chamber load.
Based on police intelligence report, there are eight PAGS operating in Masbate, five of which have been validated and identified by the RSOTG-Masbate.
Police and military authorities have recommended to the Commission on Elections to place the entire province of Masbate under its control following the presence of PAGs employed by the warring politicians as well as presence of communist insurgents.
Masbate has been tagged as the political “tinder box” of Bicol where violence is a normal occurrence even before and after elections due to intense political rivalries and presence of PAGs.
Masbate province has been consistently placed under election watch list, as assessed and classified by the military and the police based on reported violent incidents in the past elections.
Due to this, the police regional command led by Chief Superintendent Augusto M. Marquez Jr. has deployed more than 1,000 cops, including men from the elite Special Action Force, to maintain peace and order before and during the synchronized May 9 polls. PNA / northboundasia.com