MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. has declared that all post-election public assemblies and other mass actions held in some places around the country have been secured to prevent any form of violence.
“We are glad that those assemblies or gathering(s) of supporters went smoothly without any major incident recorded,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
Danao added the active deployment of police personnel in areas of convergence greatly contributed to maintaining peace and order to the identified areas.
The PNP recorded at least 40 public assemblies staged between May 10-14 across the country, including the thanksgiving event at the Ateneo de Manila University campus on Friday.
“We would also like to thank the cooperation of the organizers and those who participated in these events for adhering to our call for a peaceful gathering. The premise is to allow them to express their sentiments in consideration to the safety guidelines that were set,” Danao said.
On Friday afternoon, supporters flocked to the thanksgiving event of Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan at the Bellarmine field in Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU).
While protesters held placards and banners to express their sentiments with regards to the result of the polls, the men and women of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) under regional director Maj. Gen. Felipe Natividad maintained maximum tolerance making these gatherings generally peaceful with no reported untoward incidents.
Strategic personnel deployment, civil disturbance management, traffic management, Emergency Response Team, and other related security and safety measures employed were the key to ensure the security and protection of all the attendees.
“We are not the enemies of the rallyists. We are here because we are tasked to manage the crowd and influx of cause-oriented groups with our utmost respect to human rights. Patuloy lamang kami sa pagsigurado na ang lahat ng dumalo ay ligtas na nakapagpahayag ng kanilang saloobin (We just continue to make sure that everyone in attendance is able to safely express their grievances),” Natividad said.
He assured that NCRPO would proactively conduct anti-criminality operations during mass protests to ensure a peaceful and safe place for participants and attendees against would-be criminals who would take advantage of the situation.
Danao said the PNP will continue to monitor any mass gathering that may arise as the country is now transitioning to the next administration.
Meanwhile, PNP directorate for operations Maj. Gen. Valeriano De Leon said that under the guidance of PNP OIC, they are coordinating with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the conduct of special elections in at least 14 barangays in Lanao del Sur on Sunday.
De Leon, concurrent commander of the PNP national and local election task force, assured that there are augmentation and standby forces that will assist the local police force in ensuring the peaceful conduct of the special elections.
Over 8,000 voters have been disenfranchised in 14 barangays in Lanao del Sur after the Comelec declared a failure of election due to some security issues, including damage to vote-counting machines.
The barangays are located in the municipalities of Binidayan, Butig, and Tuburan.
Comelec officials earlier said there was a need to conduct Sunday special elections in these barangays as their votes could still affect results for local positions.
De Leon said they are now coordinating with the Comelec and their counterparts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines in laying down the security measures from the casting of votes to canvassing and transmission of election results.
“I am warning some groups and individuals who want to influence the results of the special elections in these areas to behave. The PNP is ready to use the full force of the law to run after them in order to ensure that the local residents will not be deprived of their right to vote,” De Leon said. (PNA)