Peaceful polls due to cooperation of security agencies

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MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) believes that the strong and good cooperation between the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) were the reasons why Monday’s polls were generally peaceful and safe.

“I think it’s the good cooperation between the AFP, PNP, the PCG and Comelec, (and the) timely response to any events especially violent ones, we attribute that to the quick reaction of our combined efforts,” AFP spokesperson Army Col. Ramon Zagala said during a media briefing Tuesday.

He also lauded the teachers manning the polling precincts, who immediately inform security forces of any possible security threats in their areas.

“And the teachers who were there to inform us, as you know we are outside the polling precincts, so we have to give that to the cooperation of everyone and because of that cooperation we were able to prevent atrocities (from affecting the polls),” Zagala said.

But, despite the relatively peaceful May 9 elections, the AFP spokesperson said they are still monitoring the situation on the ground along with AFP commanders in the field.

An estimated 70,000 AFP personnel along with air, naval, and land assets were deployed by the military to help secure elections.

Meanwhile, PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao on Tuesday called for sobriety amid planned rallies to protest the outcome of the May 9 elections.

“We have been receiving many reports of sort of rallies but actually we do not really quantify on this matter. All of us have our rights to express grievances, especially on the just-concluded electoral process,” he said.

A rally as of this posting has been ongoing in front of the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila where protesters are demanding explanation on election glitches during the election day.

Calls for protest actions were also posted on social media as some of the netizens are claiming electoral fraud.

Danao reiterated that the PNP will continue to exercise maximum tolerance.

He said the PNP will respect the right of the people to air their grievances for as long as it would not resort to violence and destruction of properties.

As this developed, the PNP recorded 21 significant violent incidents during the May 9 elections. Danao said 52 crime incidents have been recorded from 12:01 a.m. of May 9 until 11:59 p.m.

PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) chief Maj. Gen. Jireh Fidel said out of 52, some 21 were significant incidents such as strafing, shooting and explosions.

He said most of these incidents resulted in the killing of six individuals and wounding 32 others, which happened in the Bangsamoro region.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said one of the fatalities was in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, two in Binidayan, Lanao del Sur and three in Maguindanao.

Danao, however, said they are still validating if these incidents were related to the elections.

Danao also thanked the 214,485 law enforcement muscle of Comelec for a job well done especially to its PNP members.

“But the mission of the PNP does not end there. From here, the PNP is moving on to the unfinished business of implementing the requirements of the criminal justice system, particularly to violations of law committed during the election period,” he said.

“Let me point out that the more important aspects of law enforcement and public safety have been given utmost priority throughout the election period,” he added. (With a report from Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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