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Gujab! Comelec-Cebu commends police, military for peaceful polls

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The top election officer in the province of Cebu on Tuesday commended the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for successfully securing the three towns considered as election hotspots.

Lawyer Jerome Brillantes, supervisor of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) – Cebu, said the presence of uniformed personnel in the towns of San Fernando, Tuburan, and Daanbantayan was able to defuse tensions that may have caused violence in those towns.

“I would like to thank our partners from the PNP and the AFP for the 100-percent cooperation they extended to the Comelec,” Brillantes said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on the sidelines of the canvassing of votes at the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

Brillantes said he is more than contented with the assistance given by the police and military troops who have secured the voting areas, even during the conclusion of the voting up to the transmission of votes to the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC).

Brillantes chairs the PBOC.

“We are able to achieve what we have expected to give to the Cebuanos, a peaceful election,” he said, noting that the presence of uniformed personnel in election hotspots became a deterrent to political camps that planned to disrupt the political exercise through violence.

The presence of the armored personnel carrier (APC) of the Philippine Army Mechanized troopers was also a “show of force” that prevented hired armed goons of a local bet to sow violence in San Fernando, he added.

The arrest of four hired goons in San Fernando two days before the election day on Monday also became a deterrent, he said.

Aside from San Fernando, the Comelec also received a report that armed men were sighted in the town of Tabuelan, which is adjacent to Tuburan, one of the three election hotspots in the province.

However, the police was able to quell violence in the town, he said.

“It was really our command to the troops to use force if violators of election laws also use force,” Brillantes said. Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, director of Police Regional Office 7 (Central Visayas), also thanked the police and the military for the election duties they rendered.

He likewise thanked the electorate for the cooperation they extended to the servicemen who manned checkpoints and those who secured the voting centers.

Task Force Cebu commander, Col. Noel Baluyan, told the PNA in a separate interview that soldiers who are rendering poll duties will stay until the Comelec concludes the proceedings of the respective board of canvassers.

“We are here to augment the police in securing the poll areas. We will not return to our barracks until the Comelec says so,” Baluyan said. (PNA)