MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) officially marked the start of the 2019 election period by conducting checkpoint operations past midnight on Sunday, January 13.
Minutes before the election period started, Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas reminded the public to follow the election-related bans that will be enforced during the election period, from January 13 to June 12. (LIST: 2019 election-related bans)
“Sana wala tayong mahuli. Kasi kung may mahuli tayo, file natin ng election offense,” Abas said.
(I hope that we don’t apprehend anyone. Because if we apprehend anyone, we will file an election offense.)
Comelec held a quick kick-off ceremony at Camp Karingal in Quezon City late Saturday, January 12, and reminded the public of the prohibitions during election season.
Starting Sunday, Comelec will be enforcing several bans:
- Alteration of territory of a precinct or the establishment of a new precinct
- Transfer or movement of officers and employees in the civil service
- Gun ban, or the bearing of firearms or other deadly weapons, unless authorized by the Comelec
- Use of security personnel/bodyguards by candidates, unless authorized by the Comelec
- Organization of reaction forces, strike forces, etc.
- Suspension of elective local officials
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has also set up checkpoints across the country. Checkpoint operations have started as of 12 midnight Sunday.
After the short briefing in Camp Karingal, cops from the Quezon City Police District went to the checkpoint along Elliptical Road corner Kalayaan Avenue to start conducting operations.
Abas, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde, and Metro Manila Police Director Guillermo Eleazar supervised the first hour of checkpoint operations in Quezon City.
“Hihigpitan natin ngayon. Dapat 2019 ay mas honest at credible at mas peaceful ‘yung 2019 elections,” Abas told reporters at the sideline of the checkpoint inspection.
(We will be more strict now. The 2019 elections should be more honest, credible, and more peaceful.)
Later at 5 am, Comelec personnel, some candidates, and other stakeholders will join the nationwide simultaneous unity walk which aims to promote a safe and peaceful midterm elections.
More than 18,000 national and local positions will be up for grabs in the midterm elections scheduled on May 13. (READ: Survey says: How 2019 senatorial bets are faring so far) – Rappler.com
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