A WEEK before the May 9 presidential and national elections, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ricardo C. Marquez yesterday reiterated his call to all members of the 160,000-strong police force to remain non-partisan and ensure that the will of the people will be followed and that there will be a peaceful transfer of power.
In a recent meeting with more than 150 police field commanders, the PNP chief, joined by the PNP Command Group and directors of the different PNP Directorial Staff, led the oath of non-partisanship by the PNP which he and more than 150 senior police officers signed during the final May 9 pre-deployment conference for PNP field commanders.
Marquez said President Aquino has instructed him that police should be “non-partisan” during the forthcoming polls and ensure that there would be peaceful and fair elections.
He pressed the need for the PNP to be fully prepared for any situation as the election fever will grow even hotter in the next few days. “I thus expect more effort and more sacrifices from our police personnel on the ground. Again, let me just say that as Chief PNP, my fervent hope is to surpass the successes of past security measures, particularly during the 2010 and 2013 elections. We can always do better and want to assure our countrymen that we will do so, for them and for the future of our nation,” he said.
Gen. Marquez said that the President’s order is clear: ensure that the sanctity of the ballot will be uphold at all costs when Filipinos cast their votes next Monday to determine the future of the country.
“We have prepared long and hard to ensure that this national exercise will be held safely and securely. While we have all the security measures in place and our personnel properly oriented and trained on their respective election duties, there remains the need to assess and reassess our preparations to make sure that nothing is left out and that lawless elements will not have the opportunity to disturb the peaceful conduct of the elections,” he said.
Apart from Gen. Marquez, PNP Deputy Chief for Operations and concurrent commander of the National Task Force SAFE (Secure and Fair Elections) 2016, PNP Chief Directorial Staff, Deputy Director General Francisco A. Uyami Jr., PNP Director for Operations and NTF SAFE 2016 deputy commander, Director Jonathan Ferdinand G. Miano also signed the oath of non-partisanship along with 150 PNP City Directors, Provincial Directors and the different chiefs of police and station commanders of the National Capital Region Police Office.
The PNP chief made it clear that developments occur every day and we have to stay alert and ready to adjust our preparations as necessary. What is important is to remain strong, united and vigilant against all forms of lawlessness.
Miano said some 2,800 policemen from different units in Camp Crame will form the PNP Reactionary Stand Force ready for deployment to any area as the need arises during Election Day. He added that 7,000 others coming from various regions will also be put on standby alert for possible deployment to the field on May 9.
As of yesterday, Gen. Marquez said the strict enforcement of the nationwide gunban since last January 10 have already resulted in the arrest of more than 3,700 ffenders, majority of them civilians and the confiscation of over 3,000 firearms composed of pistols, revolvers, shotguns and automatic rifles as well as more than 32,500 other deadly weapons including gun replicas, bladed/pointed weapons, grenades and other explosives and various live ammunition.