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Ejercito urges crackdown on private armies after Degamo slay

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police were urged to launch a crackdown on private armies across the country following the murder of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo.

Senator JV Ejercito, chairman of the Senate committee on local government, made the statement as he observed that the suspects in the assassination of Degamo used "sophisticated" firearms and the personnel were well-trained in close-quarter combat.

"I’m hoping that with the deployment of troops and Philippine National Police personnel, the government can already catch and apprehend all of these killers. What is more important is to disband private armies all around the country. The way that Governor Degamo was killed, it was well-funded," he said.

On Sunday, the Philippine Army’s 11th Infantry Battalion deployed more soldiers in Negros Oriental following the killing of Degamo on March 4.

Ejercito expressed support for the increased presence of law enforcers in the province.

"Until the government is able to dismantle or neutralize these armed elements, I support the deployment of troops and the PNP so that order can once again be restored in the province of Negros Oriental," he said.

Further, the lawmaker is seeking a PNP investigation into the absence of five out of six police personnel assigned to Degamo on the day he was assassinated.

"These five should be investigated for conspiring with the mastermind. Hindi ito nagkataon (It was not a mere coincidence)," Ejercito tweeted on March 11. —VBL, GMA Integrated News