THE Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday, May 23, 2022, warned groups and individuals planning to stage protest actions in the light of the canvassing of votes for the presidential and vice presidential candidates.

PNP director for operations Major General Valeriano de Leon said rally organizers must secure the necessary permits from the concerned local government units for the conduct of their protest.

He also urged them to police their own ranks to prevent violence.

He said the PNP will deploy enough police forces to ensure peace and order in front of the Senate in Pasay City and the House of Representatives in Quezon City.

“Kung ito ay isang mapayapang assembly, ito ay ating papayagan lalo na, kung ito ay gaganapin sa mga freedom parks. We are governed by rules, isang pagtitipon ay bawal kapag walang kaukulang permit o kaya ito ay hindi ginawa sa freedom parks,” he said.

“As mentioned by our PNP OIC (officer-in-charge), Lieutenant General Vicente Danao Jr., the PNP will observe maximum tolerance in order to respect their right to stage protests to voice their issues,” he added.

De Leon said police may effect dispersal or arrest of organizers once the peace and order in the area is affected.

On Tuesday, May 24, the Senate and House of Representatives will convene as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) for the presidential and vice presidential race will officially start the canvassing of votes.

House of Representatives Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza said the committee aims to finish the canvassing within 24 hours.

Some groups claimed that there was “widespread” electoral fraud in the just concluded polls, a matter that was repeatedly refuted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

In a press conference on Monday, May 23, commissioner George Garcia said the random manual audit of votes so far has an accuracy rate of 99.93 percent.

He said there was a 99.97 percent accuracy rate for the presidential elections, 99.96 percent for the vice-presidential race, and 99.97 percent for senatorial and partylist polls.

The Comelec was assisted by election watchdogs such as the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) and National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), as well as the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in the conduct of random manual audits.

The random manual audit is being conducted to double check the accuracy of the vote counting machines used during the May 9, 2022 national and local elections.

Groups were particularly protesting the looming victory of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (SunStar Philippines)