WITH the campaign period for candidates running for national elective positions starting today, any policeman caught securing a politician without authorization from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be sanctioned.
Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, the deputy regional director for operations of the Police Regional Office 7, said police can only secure an area where there is a political rally.
He said Comelec has the sole authority to assign close-in security to candidates.
Meanwhile, the police official said they have not received a report of a national candidate holding an “opening salvo” in Cebu today.
During the campaign period in the 2013 midterm elections, a local police unit drew criticisms after some of its personnel were seen carrying yellow umbrellas during a political rally of the Liberal Party in Talisay City.
Lawas promised there will be no repeat of the incident.
“The work of the police is to secure the area where the campaign is held. If the officer carries an umbrella, it can be construed he is giving a personal security and it needs clearance from the Comelec,” he said.
Lawas said politicians should not use police officers at their own whims.
“If there is a need to cover them with umbrella because of rain or heat, they have to look from whom among their friends, fans and supporters will carry the umbrella,” he said.
The city and provincial police directors have been told to secure areas where political rallies will be held.
Lawas said there is no advice yet from the national headquarters as to whether the police’s alarm status will be raised.
“This time around, we will make sure that our police will only do what they are supposed to do,” he said.