PNP reports 8 poll-related incidents
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said it has so far logged eight suspected election-related incidents (ERI) ahead of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) on October 30, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.
In a press briefing at Camp Crame, Quezon City, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said the cases, including shootings and stabbing, were recorded in the Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and Soccskargen.
Fajardo said these incidents would have to be validated within 10 days by the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (JPSCC) using its parameters to determine if these can be considered as ERIs.
"First, we have to determine whether the victim or the suspect is an incumbent official running in the BSKE. We also check whether these are Comelec (Commission on Elections) officers or family members of candidates or identified political supporters of a candidate. Another thing is we would check if these would affect the electoral process," she said.
"In the past, there were incidents that qualified as ERI because these happened during the election period. Another parameter is if the incident may somehow create a form of political tension that may eventually affect the electoral proceedings," she added.
Fajardo noted that out of the eight incidents, one has been validated which happened in Libon, Albay where the victim Alex Repato, reelectionist captain of Barangay San Jose, was shot dead by still unidentified assailants in his house during the first day filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) last Aug. 28.
Meanwhile, police are looking into another incident where a candidate was allegedly prevented from filing his COC in Malabang, Lanao del Sur.
“We have to understand this area under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). There are special geographic areas we also have to monitor the presence of some threat groups. These are some of the factors we are seriously considering studying to make sure na tama yung ilalatag nating deployment (that the deployment we are going to make is right),” Fajardo said.
Meanwhile, Fajardo also said they are awaiting data from the Police Security Protection Group (PSPG) on barangay officials who have been allowed to have a police escort after the threats to their lives have been validated.
“Kung saka-sakali na navalidate may existing threat sa kanilang buhay, under the rules ay pupwede lamang sila mabigyan ng maximum of two security escorts coming from the AFP and PNP and hindi sila pwede mamili (If by any chance it is validated that there is an existing threat to their lives, under the rules they can only be given a maximum of two security escorts coming from the AFP and PNP and they cannot shop),” she added.
The PNP mainly is the law enforcement agency tapped by the Comelec to secure elections.
The election period for the BSKE started on Aug.28 and runs until Nov. 29.
During this period, Comelec regulations mandate the suspension of activities involving the carrying of firearms or other deadly weapons and the employment of security personnel or bodyguards by incumbent public officials, whether elected or appointed, as well as private individuals.
To facilitate the application for the issuance of a Certificate of Authority for Security Detail, eligible individuals, including incumbent public officials and private citizens, are encouraged to submit their requests online through the Comelec website.
The electronic filing system has been operational since June 5 and will remain open until Nov. 15.
8 cops already axed for drug use
In the same briefing, Fajardo said eight police officers across the country have been dismissed from the service after testing positive for illegal drug use since January this year.
“Twenty-five PNP personnel were positive from Jan 1 to Aug. 31, 2023, eight were dismissed while the other resigned so the remaining are undergoing summary hearing proceedings,” she said.
Among the 25 was Col. Cesar Gerente, who was relieved from his post as chief of the Mandaluyong City Police Office while the rest are police non-commissioned officers.
Gerente yielded a positive result during random drug testing on Aug. 24 with top officials of the National Capital Region Police Office and other commanders and chiefs of different offices and support units.
He was the highest-ranked among those who tested positive.
“It's really sad na isang third level officer was positive in drug test but on hindsight ay tinitingnan din natin na ito ay resulta ng (is we also see that this is a result of) continuing internal cleansing within the PNP na kahit ikaw ay third level ay hindi ka exempted dito sa mga ginagawa nating random drug test. Doon natin tinitingnan yun na this will serve as a warning everyone hindi lang mga NCOs, pati kami sa third level ay hindi kami exempted sa conduct ng random drug test (that even if you are third level, you are not exempt from the random drug tests we do. That's where we are looking at that this will serve as a warning to everyone not only NCOs, even us at the third level are not exempted from the conduct of random drug tests),” said Fajardo.
Earlier, PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said the conduct of random drug tests will continue as part of internal cleansing efforts.
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