Samar mayor backs call to dismantle private armies

CATBALOGAN CITY, Sept. 22 (PNA) — A Samar town mayor expressed hope that killing incidents perpetuated by private armed groups (PAGS) operating in the province will be stopped and resolved by law enforcement agencies, especially now that election is fast approaching.

PAGS members should all be apprehended and charged for their crimes, but this can only be done if law enforcement officials will do their job properly and not allow themselves to be used by politicians, said Matuguinao town Mayor Melissa Dela Cruz.

The lady mayor believed that PAGS are backed by local politicians who use them for their political agenda.

“If none are supporting them, they would not exist,” she stressed.

De la Cruz said that winning elections is not only through having PAGS that uses intimidation and violence to sway voters.

“Winning election has many ways, it’s not only violence. We may win election by gaining support and love from our constituents,” she pointed out.

A neophyte in the political arena, De la Cruz entered politics after her father was killed by riding-in-tandem gunmen at their residence in the city in 2009. Her father was a first term mayor of Matuguinao town and was seeking re-election in 2010. (PNA)