While reporting that the eight-day filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) and certificate of nomination and acceptance (CONA) is generally peaceful, the Philippine National Police (PNP) deplored on Saturday, Oct. 9, what it described as lack of discipline among the supporters for violation of rules of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and health protocols which appeared to have been tolerated by the candidates themselves.
“The Philippine National Police did not receive any significant incident that affected the eight-day filing of COC and CONA across the country. We attribute this to the preparations made by our unit commanders and the hard work of our personnel on the ground,” Eleazar said.
“Nakakalungkot lamang na sa kabila ng ating paulit-ulit na pakiusap ay marami pa rin sa ating mga kababayan ang hindi sumunod sa mga patakaran ng Comelec at ng pamahalaan tungkol sa public health safety at nakakalungkot din na tila hinayaan ito ng mga sinusuportahan nilang mga kandidato (We just observed that depsite our repeated appeal to the public to follow the Comelec rules and the national government’s health protocols, some of them did not follow them and these appeared to have been tolerated by the candidates they support),” he added.
Some candidates appeared to have tagged along their supporters at the Comelec offices where they filed their COCs and CONAs in a bid to project that their candidacy has the strong backing of the public.
In a few cases, police forces have to block the roads leading to the Comelec offices and at the Sofitel where national candidates and party-list groups filed their COCs and CONAs.
“Lagi nating naririnig ang sigaw ng pagbabago tuwing halalan subalit kahit sino ang ihalal nating mga lider ay walang mangyayari dahil ang tunay na pagbabago ay nagmumula sa ating mga sarili at ito ay nag-uumpisa sa simpleng disiplina at pagsunod sa mga patakaran na para naman sa kapakanan ng bawat isa (We always hear the clamor for change every election but no matter who we elect as our leaders, there would be no genuine change because real change starts from us–and it starts with having discipline and following rules),” he added.
Eleazar, however, commended and expressed gratitude to all police officers who have made the beginning of the electoral process a success and for sticking to observing maximum tolerance against those who disobey the guidelines set by the poll body and other stakeholders.
“I would like to congratulate and extend my sincerest appreciation to the dedication and display of maximum tolerance of our men on the ground to make sure that we achieve our goal, and that is to make this electoral process peaceful and orderly. Saludo ako sa inyo! (I salute you!)” Eleazar said.
While there were incidents reported in some parts of the country, the PNP chief said they were not significant and that local police forces were able to properly address them.