By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY—The regional director of the Police Regional Office Cordillera (Procor) has denied claims that he, together with other police officers, inspected the warehouse where the vote counting machines (VCM) that will be used in the upcoming polls is stored.
“The purpose in going to Baguio City was to personally oversee the actual deployment of personnel in relation with Election Security Preparations, Oplan Ligtas Sumvac, and Holy Week Alert; in which the influx of local and foreign tourists are expected to rise,” Police Brigadier General Israel Ephraim Dickson said in a statement released to the media on Tuesday.
Various stories were published by national dailies regarding the alleged inspection of the VCM and the VCM hub done by Dickson.
On April 17, which was Holy Wednesday, Dickson with his staff together with the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) key personnel did the rounds of the different bus stations, as well as tourist attractions in the city, as part of the observance of the Holy Week, where droves of tourists were expected to arrive starting evening of the same date.
As part of the inspection and with election also nearing, Dickson took the chance to also look at the security deployment of police personnel at the warehouse where the VCM will be stored pending distribution to the different precincts.
“The Regional Director did not intend to inspect the hub per se but the deployed personnel who were securing the establishment,” the statement further said. It added “it was a just a coincidence that during the supervision, the VCMs were being unloaded and no warehouse supervisor from the COMELEC was in sight for a coordination to be made.”
Police Major Carolina Lacuata, Procor information officer said Dickson and the staff were performing a regular police function particularly, especially considering that the Cordillera Region was on full alert status due to the recent atrocities perpetrated by the communist terrorist groups in the region and in some areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.
“Therefore no existing Comelec laws and resolutions were violated,” in the process.