By Leslie Ann Aquino
Although in the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) it is prohibited to hire or appoint a new employee or create a new position within 30 days before a special election, the Commission on Elections has decided to grant an exemption to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the January 21 plebiscite to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
In Resolution No. 10451, the Comelec has resolved to grant authority to the PNP and the AFP to appoint or hire new employees from December 22 until January 20; and to transfer or detail their officers or employees from December 7 until February 5.
The poll body explained that to impose the prohibition against the PNP and the AFP will unnecessarily limit their movements and capabilities to carry out their mandates as deputies of the commission.
However, the Comelec said the exemption is subject to the conditions that: it is essential to the proper functioning of the office and will not influence the conduct of the plebiscite; it shall not involve promotion or giving of any increase of salary or renumeration or privilege which is strictly prohibited, without any exception whatsoever, from December 22, 2018 to January 20, 2018; this authorization shall be prospective in application and without prejudice to the applicable Civil Service Law, rules and regulations on personnel actions or movements.
The commission said its Law Department must also be notified in writing in cases of the hiring, appointment, or transfer of officers or personnel.
The Comelec en banc also authorized the military and the police to use during the campaign period, on the day before and on plebiscite day, any armored land, water, or air craft.
“This authority shall be without prejudice to the application of the prohibition to the use of public equipment and facilities owned and controlled by the government for the plebiscite campaign,” read the resolution.
To note, the OEC also states that it is prohibited to detail or transfer any official or employee in the civil service within the election period.
Also prohibited is the use of any land, water, and air craft during the campaign period.
Violation of the said prohibitions is considered as an election offense.