IN LINE with the May 14 village and youth council elections, President Rodrigo Duterte has adopted a Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other law enforcement agencies to coordinate and cooperate with the poll body.

Duterte on April 13 signed Memorandum Order 21, concurring with Comelec Resolution 10206, which deputized the law enforcement agencies and government instrumentalities, including the AFP, in connection with the conduct of the twin polls on May 14.

"The foregoing law enforcement agencies and other concerned agences are hereby directed to coordinate and cooperate with the Comelec in the performance of their duties and functions," said Duterte in his memorandum order.

The Constitution allows the Comelec to deputize, with the president's concurrence, law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the government, including the AFP, to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.

The elections for a new set of village and youth council executives will push through on May 14, after Congress failed to submit to Duterte a proposed measure seeking a further postponement.

The Comelec has scheduled the filing of candidacies for the synchronized village and youth council elections on April 14 to April 20.

Duterte, who delayed the twin elections twice over fears that candidates would be used by drug syndicates, on April 13 vehemently warned aspirants that they could face death, if they are involved in the illicit narcotics trade.

"Other incumbent village captains, municipal mayors, and the city mayors get killed because they enter (the illegal trade of narcotics)," the President said in an April 13 interview in Davao City.

"So this is why I can't guarantee, but (it's just a warning to whoever want to run or village positions), the same policy will apply to you. And the same strategy that I am adopting is good until the end of my term to the very last day," he added. (SunStar Philippines)