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Duterte directs law enforcement agencies to ensure peaceful polls

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By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has directed the military and police to ensure the peaceful and credible barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections next month.

The President issued Memorandum Order No. 21 granting the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) request for the deputation of law enforcement agencies and other government instrumentalities, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), for the synchronized barangay and SK elections on May 14.

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“The foregoing law enforcement agencies and other concerned government agencies are hereby directed to coordinate and cooperate with the COMELEC in the performance of their duties and functions,” the memorandum read.

The poll body earlier adopted Resolution No. 10207 seeking to tap the military and police for the barangay and SK polls next month.

The latest memorandum order noted that under the Constitution, the COMELEC is empowered to deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies, and other government units “for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.”

The barangay and SK elections will be held on the second Monday of May 2018, after being postponed last October 2017.

The memorandum was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea last April 13.

Earlier, President Duterte warned against the poll victory of barangay officials linked in the illegal drug trade.

The President however refused to make a decision on whether or not the barangay elections should push through lest he be accused anew of having dictatorial tendencies. He said it was up to Congress to decide on the matter.

“I’ll just give you the caveat: marami dito mananalo na suportado ng drug money. Ngayon, bahala kayo [Many of the winners are supported by drug money. Now, that’s up to you],” Duterte said.

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