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Duterte directs military, police to work with Comelec for peaceful polls

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President Rodrigo Duterte has directed law enforcers to work with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to ensure free and peaceful election come May 2022.

Duterte last month signed Memorandum Order 59, which deputizes uniformed personnel, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for this year’s election. Copies of the order were only published on Wednesday.

“The foregoing law enforcement agencies and other concerned agencies are hereby directed to coordinate and cooperate with Comelec in the performance of their duties and functions,” the President said.

The memo, which takes effect immediately, concurred with Comelec’s Resolution No. 10744 (s. 2021) on deputizing agencies and instrumentalities.

Duterte cited Section 2, Article IX-C of the Constitution which empowers the Comelec to deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies for the exclusive purpose of ensuring “free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.”

In his speeches, the President repeatedly vowed to spend the remaining months of his term ensuring orderly conduct of the democratic process.

He even warned political warlords and communist insurgents to stay out of the May elections, saying he would not think twice about using military force to suppress violence and security threats.

“The work of our imperfect democracy will certainly continue. My administration will ensure an honest, peaceful, credible, and free election in May,” Duterte said last year during his intervention at the United States’ Summit for Democracy convened by US President Joe Biden.

Duterte, who will bow out of office in June, said it would be his “highest honor” to turn over the reins of power to his successor knowing that he did his “best to serve the country and people.”

More than 18,000 positions are up for grabs in the upcoming election, including the presidency, the vice presidency, and 12 Senate seats.

This year’s nationwide election is deemed crucial in determining the government’s direction for the next six years as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

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