PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to secure the upcoming plebiscite to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and the National and Local Elections (NLE).
The president issued Memorandum Order (MO) 34 on Dec. 28, 2018, which states that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will deputize the PNP, AFP, and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that the BOL plebiscite on Jan. 21 will be peaceful and orderly.
Also issued on the same day was MO 35 on the deputation by the Comelec of the PNP, AFP, and other law enforcement agencies for the midterm elections on May 13.
The two Memorandum Orders were only made public on Friday, Jan. 11.
Section 2 of Article 9-C of the 1987 Constitution states that the Comelec will “deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.”
On Dec. 28, the Comelec signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the AFP and PNP before members of the media for the three agencies to work together in ensuring the safe implementation of the BOL plebiscite and NLE.
Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez told reporters on Friday that the commission’s authority to deputize the law enforcement departments and agencies “is standard practice.”
He added that for the midterm elections, “We can provide training for them (the law enforcement departments and agencies) so that on election day, makakapagadminsiter sila ng (they can administer their) presence sa iba’t ibang (in different) polling places.”
Regarding the BOL, the Comelec announced the final list of petitioner-local government units (LGUs) that will take part in the plebiscite. The BOL states that areas that are contiguous have the option to join the new Bangsamoro region.
The plebiscite for the approved contingent areas of the Bangsamoro region will be on Feb. 6. — Gillian M. Cortez