By AARON B. RECUENCO
Police forces of Tongkil town in Sulu were stripped of election duties following confirmation that some of the cops there are engaging in partisan politics.
Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the pullout of policemen was agreed upon by the Joint Security Coordinating Center composed of police and military commanders in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“This is to prevent partisan politics, to prevent suspicion of partisan politics in the area,“ Tutaan said in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
“It will be the Marines who will take over in the area,“ he added.
Shortly after the voting precincts were opened in Tongkil island (now known as Banguigui) yesterday, fighting broke out between the supporters of re-electionist Gov. Abdusakur Tan and his opponent Wahid Sahidulla.
It was not clear to which side the local police are allegedly in cahoots with but Tongkil is allegedly a baili wick of Sahidulla.
The pullout was also confirmed by Senior Supt. Antonio Freyra, director of the Sulu police, who said that partisan politics was indeed the reason.
“There was already a manifestation that the policemen there are engaged in partisan politics, the reason why they have to be replaced,” said Freyra in a phone interview.
As of yesterday morning, Marine commandos have started arriving in Tongkil via helicopters deployed by the local military command.