PNP chief orders cops to ensure orderly voter’s registration as deadline nears

Robie de Guzman   •   September 24, 2021   •   305

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar on Friday directed police personnel to ensure the implementation of peace and order, and public health protocols in various sites as the deadline for the voter’s registration nears.

Eleazar issued the directive following reports of crowding and long lines in registration sites with only one week left before the registration closes.

He said police commanders should deploy enough number of personnel in various COMELEC registration sites to ensure the peaceful conduct of registration amid the threat of COVID-19.

Local police offices and units should also coordinate with local government units for the assistance they could provide once deployed in various registration sites.

The voter’s registration for the 2022 national and local elections is set to end on Sept. 30.

There have been calls and bills filed before the Congress to extend it until October, but the Comelec has yet to decide on the matter.

PNP ready to assist in national rollout of COVID-19 pediatric vaccination – Eleazar

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said it is ready to secure and help in the government’s nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive for all minors, which is set to start next week.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said he has ordered all police units across the country to start security preparations for the national rollout of the vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 that may start as early as Nov. 3.

“Police commanders nationwide should get in touch with their LGUs to be able to effectively craft security plans with the aim of enforcing minimum public health standards and ensuring the safety of minors and their parents,” Eleazar said.

Police assets are also ready to assist in the national vaccination program in any capacity, including disseminating information and awareness on COVID-19 vaccines.

“The Medical Reserve Force is on standby and is ready for deployment to help facilitate the inoculation process should our LGUs require assistance in their local vaccination programs,” the PNP chief said.

The Philippine government is expecting to vaccinate around 12.7 million children aged 12 to 17.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the national government is eyeing to complete the vaccination of children within this age group by December.

7,000 kilos of endangered clams, hot lumber seized in Northern Samar

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2021

A total of 7,000 kilograms of endangered fossilized and fresh clams, also known as taclobo, were confiscated in an operation in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday.

In a statement, the PNP said the clams amounting to P490,000 were seized by operations from its maritime group in Barangay Cayhagan last Oct. 26.

The operation also yielded the arrest of two suspects.

In another operation, police officers seized hot lumber worth more than P400,000 at a checkpoint in Allen, Northern Samar.

The PNP said a 10-wheeler reefer van, driven by one Jan Richard Ballosa, contained the lumber.

The police arrested the driver after allegedly failing to show the necessary documents indicating he was authorized to transport more than 400 pieces of lumber.

Criminal charges against the suspects in the two incidents are already being readied, the PNP said.

PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar reminded the public about existing laws that aim to preserve the environment and the country’s natural resources.

“Kaakibat ng aming mandatong proteksyunan ang ating mga komunidad ang pangangalaga sa ating kalikasan. Malaking bagay ang pagkakasabat ng mga taclobo na kabilang sa endangered species sa ating bansa sa ilalim ng Republic Act 10654. Lalo rin natin paiigtingin ang kampanya kontra ilegal na pagtrotroso,” he said.

Eleazar said he has tasked all police offices to strengthen measures against individuals or even groups engaging in activities that violate environmental laws including poaching of endangered species, illegal quarrying and illegal logging.

Comelec supports bill penalizing nuisance candidates

Maris Federez   •   October 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has announced its support for the proposed bill that seeks to penalize those who will be declared ‘nuisance candidates’.

Under House Bill 9557 is the provision that will mete out a penalty of Php100,000 to a nuisance candidate and his supporter.

Director Maria Norina Tangaro-Casingal, head of Comelec Law Department said that under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code, a candidate is considered a nuisance if he is found guilty of making a mockery of the elections, running to cause confusion for bearing the same name with another candidate, and showing no real intention to run for a position.

“We support the imposition of the fine, the P100,000,” Casingal said.

“And we also would like to propose that those who have been declared as nuisance candidates be disqualified for running for 2 successive elections […] They can no longer substitute, your honor, if they have been declared as a nuisance candidate,” she insisted.

Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms chairperson Imee Marcos, however, asked Comelec first of a more detailed data on previous candidates who were declared a nuisance for the panel to further study the issue.

“We should have the data and the experience to compare. Nagdadahan-dahan din tayo kasi ayaw din ng Supreme Court na palibhasa […] sinasabi na hindi masyadong di kilala o walang pera dahil o walang partido, hindi naman basta-basta i-disqualify,” Marcos said.

Election lawyer, Atty. George Garcia, on the other hand, said that rather than meting out penalties or fines straightaway, the law must be amended first to clear out the details on the merits of declaring somebody a nuisance candidate.

Garcia believes the penalties will cause undue concern or fear among ordinary Filipinos who may have intentions of running for any government position.

“Minsan, halimbawa sinabi lang na ‘meron ka na bang political history? Nakatakbo na ba ikaw kahit barangay chairman man lang o naging barangay tanod?’ Hello? Nasaan sa batas natin na dapat naging barangay tanod o barangay chairman o kung anuman? Pero ‘yon, maniwala kayo’t sa hindi, pagka naghi-hearing patungkol sa nuisance, nasasabi ‘yun. Nababanggit. Pero wala naman sa batas ‘yon,” Garcia said.

“Kung ‘yon pa rin, yung Sec. 69 pa rin na nagde-define ng nuisance candidate, tapos bigla ka lang magdadagdag ng fine at saka ng perpetual disqualification to hold public office, halimbawa, sa aking palagay, parang magbo-border na siya sa violation ng equal protection clause under the Constitution,” he further said.

Ateneo School of Government executive director Professor Edmund Tayao also underscored the need to closely look into the proposed bill.

“There are those who really want to offer themselves as an alternative candidate to the public; albeit, however, they don’t have the resources to conduct a respectable campaign. Kasi yun ‘yung definition natin ng nuisance candidate. Nade-declare ka’ng nuisance candidate kung nag-file ka ng candidacy mo, kandidato ka, but it turns out hindi ka naman makakapagkampanya nationally. This has to be looked into closely.”

Meanwhile, Comelec is set to release a tentative list of candidates for the 2022 national and local elections on October 29. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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