MANILA, Philippines — Police units must prepare for the possibility that candidates for the 2022 national elections would file their certificates of candidacy (COCs) on the last day, Friday, October 8, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said on Wednesday.
According to Eleazar, he has asked all regional and provincial directors to place a sufficient number of police officers on standby to ensure the peaceful conduct of filing COCs and certificates of nomination and acceptance (CONAs).
While several personalities vying for local and national posts have already filed their COCs, there is a growing concern that some potential candidates would troop to the Comelec offices on Friday. On Tuesday, Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. asked applicants not to wait for the last day of COC filing to avoid crowding, to minimize the chance of COVID-19 transmissions.
“On the part of the PNP, I have already instructed our Regional and Provincial Directors to place on standby enough number of police personnel that would respond to any eventuality as candidates and party-list groups beat the deadline,” Eleazar said.
“Nasa ika-anim na araw na tayo ng filing of COCs at CONAs kaya inaasahan natin ang pagdagsa ng mga kandidato para humabol sa October 8 deadline,” he added.
(We are on the sixth day of the filing of COCs and we are expecting candidates to flock to Comelec offices just to beat the October 8 deadline.)
Eleazar said that even if the filing of COCs has been generally peaceful, they are still on guard to prevent any untoward incident.
But aside from that, the PNP chief also reminded candidates again to refrain from bringing big crowds to the filing of COCs as it would only expose their supporters to a higher risk of contracting the disease.
He said the number of supporters that a candidate can bring would not be a measurement of their winnability — hence it would be better to let people stay at home and away from the gathering.
“Pinapaalahanan din natin ang mga kandidato na sa Mayo pa ang election. Ang dami ng supporters na bibitbitin nyo sa pag-file ng COCs ay hindi sukatan ng inyong pagkapanalo. Ilalagay niyo lang sa panganib ang buhay ng inyong mga supporters kung maging super-spreader event ang pagdadala ninyo sa kanila sa mga Comelec offices,” Eleazar said.
(I am also reminding our candidates that the elections will be held in May. The number of supporters they would bring with them in filing COCs would not measure winnability. You are only placing your supporters’ lives in peril if the filing of COCs turns out to be a super-spreader event.)
“Matuto sana tayong sumunod sa mga patakaran ng Comelec at ng pamahalaan dahil ito ang unang sukatan ng magandang liderato na inyong ipapangako sa ating mga kababayan,” he added.
(I hope you learn to follow the rules and regulations set by Comelec and the government because this would be a better measurement of your leadership and of what you can provide to the country.)
This is not the first time Eleazar issued reminders regarding the filing of COCs: last October 1, Eleazar appealed to candidates to shun large crowds and fiesta-like activities, which were a common thing of the past, as the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic remains present even with a decrease in infections.
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