64 candidates in 2019 elections apply for police escorts
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018
FILE PHOTO: Philippine National Police
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Several politicians vying for elections in 2019 have applied for police escorts, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
According to the PNP Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG), 64 candidates have already submitted their formal request to the agency following a number of ambush incidents against politicians in Batangas, Cavite and La Union.
Among those who asked for police escorts are three senators; 49 congressmen; 6 local chief executives; three former government officials and three private individuals running for the elections in May.
A total of 116 police escorts will be assigned to them once the Commission on Elections (Comelec) approves it.
“For those who will be running for elective positions, they have to reapply with the Comelec, so they have to download the requirements from Comelec website. Ang magiging role lang po ng PSPG is to certify that the personnel or a member of PSPG and the firearms are issued for the personnel of PSPG,” said PCSupt. Filmore Escobal, PSPG Director.
Escobal said they are expecting more applications in the coming days especially from areas with intense political rivalry.
“There are certain instances na merong intense political rivalry na nare-report in some areas, so ang security personnel ay isang preventive measures para ma-achieve natin yung goal natin na maging peaceful ang elections,“ he said.
Meanwhile, Escobal said all existing security escorts of incumbent politicians will remain.
The PSPG reminds politicians, however, to ask permission from the Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA) of the PNP and from Comelec should they wish to have additional escorts form the Protective Security Agency so as not to be associated with a private armed group. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Friday, May 17th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Supporters of the opposition group on Friday questioned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on alleged anomalies in the May 13 midterm elections.
Members of Tindig Pilipinas and the Silent Majority gathered in front of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City where the Comelec is canvassing votes for the senatorial and party-list elections.
The groups were protesting the technical glitches that were encountered during the polls, such as defective secure digital (SD) cards and vote-counting machines (VCM), as well as the seven-hour delay in transmitting data from Comelec’s transparency server.
Members of said cause-oriented groups, who were chanting “what happened to the midterm elections, Comelec?” repeatedly during their picket, were also demanding the poll body to explain the alleged irregularities that cast doubts on the credibility of the midterm polls.
They also sought to question the poll body for its alleged mishandling and inaction of supposed anomalies observed, including the designation of Nacionalista Party as the minority party, the disenfranchisement of voters, and the “blatant commission” of pre-campaign and campaign violations of some candidates such as electioneering and vote-buying.
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (May 16) said it expects incoming senators, particularly those who are close allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, to be independent when it comes to issues involving national interest.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement following concerns that the check and balances in government may be affected as administration-backed Senate bets look set to join the upper chamber of Congress.
Partial and unofficial count from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed that nine Senate bets endorsed by Duterte are in the top 12.
These are reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar, former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano, reelectionist senators Sonny Angara and Koko Pimentel, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and former Senator Bong Revilla.
Three of them – Go, Dela Rosa and Tolentino – are known close allies of Duterte.
Panelo, however, believes that the three will do their job well and always put first the best interest of the nation.
“It’s just happened that they are very close to the president but that doesn’t mean they will be subservient,” he said.
“Whether or not Senate or Congress is dominated by the allies of whoever is incumbent, we expect them to pass economic reforms that will be beneficial to the Filipino people. The issue on whether you are an ally or not should not be discussed,” he added.
Panelo stressed that the mandate of the Congress is to pass laws that will be beneficial for the people.
“It’s about time to eradicate the discussion on parties’ consideration. That is where we fail,” he said.
Aside from Duterte’s allies, other senatorial candidates who are in the winners’ circle based on partial tally are reelectionist senators Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, and former senator Lito Lapid. (with details from Rosalie Coz)
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) admitted that vote buying was rampant in the recently concluded midterm polls.
As proof, authorities were able to seize more than P12 million from a total of 449 violators over the course of the election.
“Lahat ng nakumpiskang pera ay magsisilbing ebidensya laban sa mga na-apprehend natin na violators,” said PNP Spokesperson Police Col. Bernard Banac.
(All cash confiscated will serve as evidence against the apprehended violators.)
The highest amount seized was in Caraga region amounting to almost P8 million.
Other areas with the most number of vote buying incidents were Northern Mindanao with more than P1 million seized followed by Cagayan Valley (P561,000); Metro Manila (P541,100); and Bicol Region (P449,080).
From the 449 violators, a total of 356 were arrested, 85 persons evaded arrest while eight minors were rescued.
Most of the violators were from Metro Manila, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM); and from Regions 4a and 6.
“Wala pa tayong na-apprehend ngayon na nakakulong na sa vote buying dahil ang mga suspects at violators ay na-release for further investigation,” Banac said.
(None of those apprehended for vote buying were detailed because the suspects or violators were later released for further investigation.)
Appropriate charges were filed against the suspects for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.
If proven guilty, they will serve one up to six years jail term and in case of election candidates, they will be disqualified from holding public office.
The PNP is also looking into the possibility of using drug money in vote buying. – (with details from Lea Ylagan) Marje Pelayo
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