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Philippine senator’s armed supporters arrested

Philippines police on Monday arrested at least 30 armed supporters of re-electionist wife and brother of Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr, an action star and senator, and of his son, who is seeking the vice gubernatorial post of Cavite province.
 
The arrest followed a standoff between the cops and the armed men loyal to the family of the opposition lawmaker in his mansion in Cavite’s municipality of Bacoor, some 30km south of Manila.
 
The Revilla camp cried police harassment, saying that the misunderstanding started when it sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in looking into the presence of an alleged illegal checkpoint near the senator’s compound.
 
Police in Cavite nabbed six NBI men for allegedly violating the gun ban, as mandated by the Omnibus Election Code, during election season.
 
Senior Superintendent Alexander Rafael said his office was seeking court orders to search Revilla’s mansion, at No 77 Trece Martirez St, Justinville Subdivison in Barangay Panapaan 7, where high-powered rifles were allegedly being kept.
 
He added that some vehicles parked inside the mansion’s gates were observed to be loaded with long firearms, including Galil assault rifles and M-16 automatic rifles. Some unidentified men were using these vehicles before they sought shelter inside the mansion when police tried to question them.
 
“Instead of complying, they bluffed and castigated the troops and declared they are there because Senator Revilla requested them,” Rafael said, as quoted by media reports.
 
Revilla’s wife Lani, a former actress, is seeking reelection as a congresswoman while his brother, Strike, is also seeking another term as mayor.
 
Rafael stressed that Revilla’s armed men had tried to block two police teams from the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) who went to the Mariano Compound, which is adjacent to Barangay Panapaan 7 Hall, to respond to a call for assistance.
 
Accompanied by a barangay councilman, the RPSB personnel saw their path being barricaded by about 200 bikers in black jackets, who introduced themselves as ‘Kabayan Bikers’ (Countrymen Bikers) and some of whom were armed with Uzi machine pistols.
 
When the cops tried to interrogate the bikers, some armed men blocked their path. These men were outfitted in vests bearing the names and logos of NBI, National Police Commission and Internal Affairs Service.
 
It was around this time that the RPSB agents got off their marked vehicles, took defensive positions and called for backup.
 

 

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