President Duterte issued a stern warning that he will not hesitate to use the might of the military to ensure that the upcoming May 2022 elections would go smoothly and be free from violence.
Duterte made the statement days before he is expected to file his certificate of candidacy (COC) for vice president in next year’s polls.
In a speech in Sultan Kudarat on Friday, Sept. 24, the President said that everybody wants to have a peaceful election where everyone can vote freely for the candidates they want, and where their votes will be counted correctly.
“Iyon lang naman ang gusto nating lahat, eh (That’s what we all want),” he said.
“Nobody wants trouble, nobody wants cheating,” he added.
However, Duterte said that if things go wrong during the election period when a gun ban is imposed, he will not hesitate to use the military to ensure an orderly elections.
“I am pleading, almost praying that people will really stick to the rule of law and avoid violence kasi ‘pag hindi, unahan ko na kayo (because of not, then I tell you). Then I will be forced to use the might of the military not for any purpose but to see to it that the election is peaceful and violence-free,” he said.
“Iyan ang hiling ko (That’s my wish), not only here but all places on — in the Philippines, lahat, ganoon ang message ko (that’s my message to all),” he added.
According to the President, he will make sure that everyone can practice their right to suffrage freely.
“Either we have an election that is free or I will use the military to see that the election is free,” Duterte said.
“The military is the guardian of our country and I could call them anytime to see to it that people are protected and the election is freely, orderly exercised,” he added.
The next elections will be held on May 9, 2022. The filing of the COCs by those who wish to run will start on Oct. 1 and will end on Oct. 8 this year.
Duterte has announced his decision to run for vice president under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). The party is pushing his long-time aide, Senator Bong Go, to run as president.