DILG to respect SC ruling vs Comelec’s ‘Oplan Baklas’

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) assured on Wednesday, March 9, that it will abide by the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC) against the implementation of the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) "Oplan Baklas".

In an en banc resolution, the High Court ordered the Comelec and its spokesperson James Jimenez to comment on the petition within 10 days from the receipt of the notice.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya assured that the department will advise all the local government units (LGUs), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement entities to suspend all planned or on-going ‘Oplan Baklas’ activities being undertaken by the agency nationwide as deputized agents of the poll body.

“Our police officers and barangay officials are merely following the lawful orders of the Comelec but in this case where the Supreme Court itself has issued an order on the matter, we are bound to comply,” Malaya said.

“The petitioners sought the issuance of a TRO, while the resolution of the petition is pending, prohibiting the respondents from implementing Section 21 (o), Section 24, and Section 26 of Comelec Resolution No. 10730 with respect to the poll body’s order to dismantle, remove, destroy, deface, and/or confiscate all election materials that are privately owned and privately funded solely by volunteers and private citizens and posted and/or installed within their private properties,” the SC said in its resolution.

Malaya said that only Sections 21, 24, and 26 were the subject of the TRO so the other provisions of Comelec Resolution No. 10730 are still binding and effective.

“With respect to the other provisions not subject of the TRO, we will continue to implement those as may be directed by the Comelec,’’ the DILG spokesperson noted. (Chito A. Chavez)