By Artemio Dumlao
DOLORES, Abra – Two Abra policemen who were sacked for allegedly escorting “flying voters” were reportedly only providing security to an Abra town mayor helping legitimate voters being harassed not to register here.
PO2 Jithelo Tuazon and PO3 Raymond Palope were relieved from Abra and brought to the Cordillera police headquarters for investigation into their alleged partisan actions during the last day of voters’ registration.
La Paz town Mayor Joseph Bernos vouched for the duo from his town, saying they merely gave him security when he went with at least nine supposed voter-registrants who were earlier harassed and barred from registering at the Comelec by supposed men of Dolores town Mayor Robert Seares, Jr.
“It was incumbent upon me to help people who wanted to exercise their right to suffrage (for the next elections) because they were prohibited (by Mayor Seares, Jr. and his men).”
La Paz and Dolores towns share the same boundaries and sometimes, because of rough topography, villagers nearer in La Paz town center than in Dolores seek government services there.
But politically, villagers who wanted to register in La Paz come from Dolores, Bernos said.
Bernos and the two policemen were earlier tagged into an alleged attempt to sneak in flying voters highlighting the end day of the voters’ registration in the northern province.
Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong ordered the relief of the two policemen.
The policemen also turned-in an MP5 submachine gun and a .45 caliber pistol for verification to the Firearms and Explosives Division records.
But Bernos showed an “acknowledgment receipt for equipment” he signed which indicated that the MP5 submachine pistol was a firearm duly registered as a property of La Paz town and handed to the town police for its peace keeping efforts.
An earlier report from the Philippine Star sourced from the police even indicated Bernos had a spat with Dolores election officer Adriano Bernardino at the poll body’s local office but an affidavit executed by Bernardino shown to the Philippine Star indicated otherwise.
“All we wanted was for these people to register and exercise their rights, but were barred,” Bernos, a member of the Liberal Party said.
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