Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año last week warned politicians who are planning to use force and intimidation to win the elections to think twice because the government will not hesitate to run after them.
“Stop using armed goons, stop using intimidation and force to influence the voters. We will not back down, whoever it is,” Año said, adding that they will not hesitate to implement the full force of the law on any political candidate who will use violence.
He added that President Duterte has instructed military and police officials in previous meetings to ensure the elections will be peaceful, clean, orderly and honest. The Chief Executive also stressed that they should be non-partisan and that whoever is chosen by the majority of voters is elected.
He said that Duterte, whose daughter is running for Vice-President, has never instructed them to use government resources to help a presidential candidate to win the elections in May.
Additionally, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos said that the 225,000-strong police force will always remain neutral in the elections.
The PNP has recommended 105 towns and cities as election areas of concern or hot spots in this year’s elections, and with those pronouncements from the heads of the DILG and the PNP, the nation is hopeful that our policemen can keep the peace while remaining non-partisan as the campaign period heats up and most especially come Election Day on May 9.
Force and intimidation have no place in elections and the best defense against such abhorrent behavior is a professional and non-partisan police force. After suffering a drop in trust and confidence due to its role in the government’s brutal drug war that employed copious amounts of intimidation and lethal force against suspected drug personalities, this election season would be a great opportunity for the country’s cops to prove their professionalism and restore the reputation of our police force. If they can keep the peace without taking sides and go after all those who use illegal means and tactics regardless of position and social standing, both the PNP and the Filipino people could emerge as the sure winners of the election season.*