MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has deputized the National Police Commission (Napolcom) and other law enforcement agencies to enforce the gun ban and other election rules in connection with the coming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls.
In a resolution, the Comelec directed the Napolcom and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to assist the poll body in implementing election laws, particularly the prohibition against military, policemen and militiamen acting as security for candidates.
The Comelec said Napolcom may provide security to candidates, subject to the restrictions on the ban on carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons and the use of security personnel and bodyguards.
Both government agencies will conduct a periodic assessment of the peace and order condition in critical areas and recommend measures ensuring free and orderly elections.
The Comelec further directed the Napolcom and DILG to look into the existence of any armed group organized to commit atrocities or act of terrorism or threats to intimidate or coerce any person to vote for or against a candidate.
On the day of the elections on Oct. 23, the Comelec directed both agencies to deploy troops for election duties as well as provide security to polling centers as well as equipment to be used in connection with the polls.
The Comelec also deputized the National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, the Bureau of Corrections and other law enforcement agencies to deploy agents and arrest any person violating election laws.
Comelec said Department of Education (DepEd) shall enforce order and instructions relative to the election duties and functions of its personnel.
DepEd will also allow the use of public school buildings for election purposes and not hold any activity that might interfere or prevent the performance of election duties.
The Department of Finance (DOF), on the other hand, shall prohibit all provincial, city and municipal treasurers from taking a leave of absence two weeks before and two weeks after the elections, except with prior written approval of the Comelec.
Comelec directed the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to ensure all owners and operators of land and air transportation facilities and telecommunication services comply with the law prohibiting any candidate or political party from giving or accepting transportation.
Both DOTr and DICT shall prohibit contribution for partisan political activity given by a person or companies operating a public utility.
All transportation companies engaged in the operations of transportation facilities are required to report within 30 days the use, rental or hiring of their facilities by any candidate in connection with the election campaign, including the amount paid.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) shall assist the Comelec in removing unlawful election materials and illegal propaganda.
The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) will help the Comelec in its education and information campaign and produce materials deemed necessary to ensure free and orderly conduct of the elections.
The Comelec deputized the Philippine Postal Corp. (PhilPost) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in requiring private telecommunication firms to prioritize the immediate transmission and delivery of messages for poll personnel during the election period.
“Non compliance with provision of the Omnibus Election Code on preferential transmission of official mails and messages constitute an election offense punishable with imprisonment of not less than one year to not more than six years,” the Comelec said.
Government financial firms as well as other government agencies and government-owned corporations shall provide means of transportation in connection with the conduct of elections.
The National Power Corp. and other concerned agencies shall ensure sufficient and uninterrupted power supply nationwide from start to end of canvassing.
The Civil Service Commission shall ensure no public officer or employee will engage in any electioneering or partisan political campaign while the Commission on Audit shall ensure enforcement of the ban on government projects.