PNP assures enforcement of election laws

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) assured the public that the enforcement of election laws will be intensified as the campaign period for national positions kicked off Tuesday.

In a statement, PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima said the laws for the prohibited acts during the poll period as specified by the Commission on Elections "shall be enforced with renewed vigor and greater intensity."

"Consistent with the mandate to enforce election laws as a deputized agency of the Commission on Elections, the Philippine National Police will enforce specific provisions of Batas Pambansa 881 or the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) that prohibit certain acts during the campaign period for national elective posts that takes effect today," said Purisima.

These prohibited acts include the bearing, carrying or transporting firearms or other deadly weapons; the use of security personnel or bodyguards by candidates, and the organization or maintenance of reaction forces, strike forces or other similar forces.

Amid the alleged string of crimes and gun-related incidents last month, Purisima claimed that the election laws "has so far succeeded in taking away instruments of violence" that threaten the security of the election period.

Purisima noted that since the start of the election period on January 13, the poll gun ban has led to the arrest of 772 violators and confiscation of 683 firearms.

As of Tuesday morning, a total of 691 civilians, 52 security groups, 11 government employees, one militiman, and 15 personnel from the PNP, military, and fire bureau have been arrested.

Along with the confiscated firearms, authorities have also seized 28 grenades, 159 other explosives, and 202 bladed or pointed weapons.

"Had these weapons remained in the hands of criminal elements, partisan armed groups and unauthorized person, I cannot imagine the extent of oppression, intimidation and violence that these instruments can do to suppress the will of the electorate and sabotage the democratic process," said Purisima.

The PNP also reminded the public and poll candidates on other prohibited acts during the election period:

* Giving donations or gift in cash or in kind, etc. (Sec. 104, OEC).
* Appointment or use of special policemen, confidential agents or the like. (Sec. 261 (m), OEC)
* Appointment or hiring of new employees; creation or filling up of new positions; promotion or giving of salary increases, remuneration or privilege. (Sec. 261 (g), OEC).
* Construction of public works, delivery of materials for public works and issuance of treasury warrants or similar devices for a future undertaking chargeable against public funds. Sec. 261 (w), OEC).
* Release disbursement or expenditures of public funds. (Sec. 261 (v), OEC)
* Illegal release of prisoners. (Sec. 261 (n), OEC).
* Campaigning on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

(Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)

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