On the second to the last day of the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) for the 2022 elections, the police implemented a new set of protocols which ban supporters from entering the perimeter of the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.
According to the National Capital Region Police Office Southern Police District (SPD) in a statement Thursday, October 7, supporters of individuals and groups who will file their COCs are banned from entering the road in front of the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. The area is adjacent to the Commission on Election’s tent on Sofitel’s grounds, where the filing is being held.
Aside from supporters, media personnel and vloggers covering the COC filing are also discouraged from staying in the area.
In a phone interview, SPD Public Information Office chief Police Major Hazel Asilo told reporters that supporters flocking to the area prompted the change in security protocols.
“Hindi naman po pinagbawal pero nag-move lang po sila sa location. Bale sa Diokno Street na lang po lahat; media, vloggers, supporters. Doon na lang po natin sila i-accommodate kasi po para masunod na rin po natin health protocols po natin,” Asilo told reporters.
(We are not keeping people [from showing support]; we are just moving them to a different location. We assigned them to Diokno Street – media, vloggers, and supporters. They will be accommodated there to ensure that health protocols are observed.)
“Iyon po ‘yung napag-usapan, napag-meetingan nila during critic session kagabi (That’s what we agreed upon. We agreed on that during the critic session last night),” Asilo added.
The change in protocols coincide with the COC filing of opposition bets like lawyer Chel Diokno and the Makabayan bloc. The SPD officer clarified that the new protocols have no connection with the filing of the opposition.
“Wala naman pong kinalaman do’n sa opposition gathering; basta po iyan ay napag-usapan sa critic session (This has nothing to do with gathering of the opposition. This was just what we agreed on during the critic session),” the SPD officer clarified.
Aside from actual road blocks, the police also used their vehicles to block roads leading to the Sofitel area. This is the first time cops blocked the said roads since the first day of filing on Friday, October 1.