Immigration personnel barred from engaging in political activities – Morente

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2021   •   153

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday reminded its employees to refrain from actively engaging in partisan political activities whether offline or on social media.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that employees are prohibited from campaigning actively and soliciting votes and support for their election bets as mandated by the law.

“This election season, as public servants, we are expected to remain politically neutral as this is mandated by law,” he said.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution defines election campaign or partisan political activity as “any act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or party to public office.”

Morente also said that the mere wearing of shirts, caps, or pins showing the names and faces of the candidates is prohibited according to advisories from the Civil Service Commission and the Commission on Elections.

“This shall cover all our employees, whether they are permanent, or contractual,” he added.

He also reminded BI employees to “adhere to the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees with respect to their actions online, and use good judgment in sharing information.”

Morente warned that officers found engaging in partisan political activities will be penalized with one month and one day suspension to six months for the first offense.

BI personnel reminded of policy vs posting TikTok videos in uniform

Robie de Guzman   •   October 25, 2021

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Monday warned its personnel anew against posting videos of themselves performing acts while in uniform.

In a statement, the BI said that officers assigned at the international airports should strictly comply with the directive banning them from posting videos of themselves dancing or singing while on duty, particularly on video-sharing network service TikTok.

In a memorandum to all BI port personnel, Immigration port operations chief Atty. Carlos Capulong warned that employees defying the ban will face administrative cases for insubordination and misconduct.

Capulong said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente has ordered him to investigate reports that some bureau employees assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) continue to post videos on TikTok which were taken while they were on duty and wearing their official uniform.

“I was instructed by Commissioner Morente to hold these errant employees liable by forwarding their cases to our board of discipline for investigation and filing of the appropriate administrative cases,” he added.

The BI personnel were also reminded to strictly observe the ban on the use of cellular phones and other electronic gadgets while on duty.

Capulong said the TikTok videos of BI employees in uniform could not have been taken if the latter were not on duty at the time, thus it is obvious that they had their mobile phones and gadgets with them.

It was in December last year that Morente first barred BI employees in uniform from posting on TikTok, saying the act denigrates the bureau as an institution and unbecoming of government employees who should always conduct themselves with professionalism and integrity.

“Our policy on the wearing of the BI uniform is clear. As public servants, employees must proudly wear their uniform at all times, present a professional image to the public and observe proper decorum and good taste in all their actions while they are on duty,” Morente said in a memorandum.

He stressed that such acts undermine the BI’s reputation and create a negative image for the agency’s personnel, especially its frontline immigration officers.

DILG warns poll bets vs paying ‘permit to campaign’ fees to communist rebels

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday warned all candidates in the 2022 national and local elections against paying the so-called permit to campaign fees to the communist rebels.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año reminded candidates of the Memorandum Circular 2019-26, which calls this modus operandi as a “clear form of extortion and defilement of the sanctity of the right to suffrage.”

“Huwag po tayong magpaloko at matakot. Ang ibabayad n’yong extortion money sa mga komunista ay gagamitin din nila para makapaghasik ng terorismo sa bansa,” he adds.

In the said directive, Año enjoined local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police to ensure that all candidates are allowed unhampered entrance in every LGU and guarantee peace and order in all areas especially those considered as hotspots for insurgency.

“All local officials should steer clear of directly or indirectly giving financial, material and political support to the CPP-NPA since this is a clear violation of law. This is something that the DILG under my leadership will never tolerate,” he said.

LGUs are also directed to ensure that all citizens desiring to exercise their right to suffrage are allowed and encouraged, and their rights are protected when participating in political assemblies and meetings and in the dissemination and receipt of information of any and all election-related matters.

“We must secure all candidates and political parties and ensure that they are given access to the electorate during the campaign period without intimidation and manipulation from communist terrorist groups,” he said.

The DILG said it will file disqualification cases against candidates who will be proven to have supported and cooperated with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

“Supporting communist terrorist groups through financing or other means is an election offense and is sufficient to cause the disqualification of a candidate,” DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in the same statement.

“We will follow through on our words, those politicians who will be proven as accomplices of the CPP-NPA will face disqualification cases from the DILG,” he said.

The DILG also cited Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 10168 known as ‘The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012’, which states that any person who finances terrorist groups to carry out or facilitate the commission of any terrorist act, by a terrorist organization, association or group, or by an individual terrorist, shall be guilty of the crime of financing terrorism.

Malaya said that under RA 10168, the crime of financing terrorism is punishable by the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period to reclusion perpetua and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000) to not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000).

Such is also punishable under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines which can render the accused “permanent disqualification to hold public office” with imprisonment of one to six years, he added.

 

PNP chief tells cops to keep social media posts apolitical

Robie de Guzman   •   October 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar on Monday reminded all police personnel to remain apolitical even in the messages they post on their personal social media accounts.

In a statement, Eleazar advised cops to refrain from campaigning for or against any political aspirant in the 2022 national and local elections.

The PNP chief earlier urged police officers to avail of the extended period for the voter registration so they may exercise their right to suffrage as citizens.

However, he pointed out that as members of the police force, they must remain apolitical in carrying out their mandate.

Eleazar reminded policemen to be careful in expressing their political leanings on social media as such would go against the organization’s non-partisan stance in politics.

“I am reminding all police personnel to be mindful of what they post on their social networking accounts and refrain from showing support for or campaigning against local or national political aspirants,” he said.

“These may be personal accounts maintained by PNP personnel but anything posted in them would ultimately reflect on the organization and put to question our apolitical stance,” he added.

Citing the PNP memorandum circular on the guidelines on social media content and engagements, Eleazar stressed the provision that prohibits the posting of messages that would be inimical to the interest of the PNP as an organization and prescribes administrative sanctions on violators of the ban.

“Uulitin ko ang babala sa bawat pulis na huwag makisawsaw sa pulitika. Ang tanging dapat natin panigan ay ang bansa at ang taumbayan, hindi ang ilang personalidad, pulitiko o partido,” Eleazar said.

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