Duterte orders forces to ensure peaceful polls


President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military and police to help ensure peaceful and orderly barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) or youth elections in May.

President Duterte signed Memorandum Order 21 concurring the deputation of law enforcement agencies and other government instrumentalities, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to help ensure the peaceful and orderly staging of the synchronized barangay and SK elections.

“The foregoing law enforcement agencies and other concerned agency are hereby directed to coordinate and cooperate with Comelec [Commission on Elections] in the performance of their duties and functions,” Duterte said in his order, which he signed on Friday but was released to the media on Monday.

The Comelec earlier adopted Resolution 10207 seeking to tap the military and police for the barangay and SK polls next month.

The Constitution allows the Comelec to deputize, with the President’s concurrence, law enforcement agencies and government units “for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.”

President Duterte postponed the twin polls twice, claiming repeatedly that 40 percent of village executives in the country are involved in illegal drugs trade.

On Friday, President Duterte warned aspirants they could face death if they were involved in the illicit narcotics trade.

“Other incumbent village captains, municipal mayors, and the city mayors get killed because they enter [the illegal trade of narcotics],” the President said.

“So this is why I can’t guarantee, but [it’s just a warning to whoever want to run or village positions], the same policy will apply to you. And the same strategy that I am adopting is good until the end of my term to the very last day,” he added.

The barangay elections, originally scheduled for October 31, 2016, was first moved to October 23, 2017, and then to May 14 this year.

The Comelec has scheduled the filing of candidacies for the synchronized village and youth council elections on April 14 to April 20.


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