President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to assist the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during the conduct of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14.
Signed on April 13, Memorandum Order 21 provided Duterte’s concurrence with Comelec Resolution 10207 deputizing the military and police to ensure “the free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible conduct” of the village polls.
“The foregoing law enforcement agencies and other concerned agencies are hereby directed to coordinate and cooperate with the Comelec in the performance of their duties and functions,” stated the order which is effective immediately.
Under Section 2(4), Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution, the President needs to concur with Comelec in tapping the AFP and the PNP during elections. The President is the military and the police’s commander-in-chief.
The barangay and SK elections were originally scheduled in October 2016, but were postponed to October 2017. Congress then moved it to May this year.
Efforts to postpone the polls for the third time failed last month after the Senate did not pass a counterpart measure to complement the House of Representatives’ passage of the bill resetting the barangay polls to October 2018.
Duterte himself did not endorse the move to call off the elections again even as he warned about local officials who would use drug money to influence the polls. —KG, GMA News