Duterte to Cabinet members, AFP, PNP: Stay away from politics

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DAVAO CITY (February 13) —  President Rodrigo Dueterte ordered his cabinet members, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to remain neutral as the official campaign period for the May’s mid-term elections started yesterday, February 12.

During the Peace and Order Summit last Friday, Duterte stressed “I want the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the police (Philippine National Police) to stay strictly neutral. Ang mga taga gobyerno (those in the government), including the Cabinet secretaries, I have not allowed them to do campaigning for or against anybody.”

Duterte warned “Because if you do it, away ang abutin mo sa akin (we will fight about it).”

In the same time, Duterte also called on the New People’s Army yo stop asking revolutionary tax or access fee from politicians.

To the rebels, Duterte said “You can come, courtesy of the money of the people of the Philippines. Wala akong pera. (I don’t have funds.) You can come and be billeted in simple hotels because luxury is not for us and you can come in peace. Hindi kayo huhulihin (You will not be arrested).”

In many areas, politicians use uniformed men as bodyguards, as the Commission on Elections as yet to release the list of security agencies and politicians who are allowed to hire security guards.

Comelec Resolution No. 10446 promulgated on November 21, 2018 reiterated Section 33 of Republic Act No. 7166  as it states:

“Sec. 33. Security Personnel and Bodyguards. – During the election period, no candidate for public office, including incumbent public officers seeking election to any public offices, shall employ, avail himself of or engage the services of security personnel or bodyguards, whether or not such bodyguards are regular members of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines or other law enforcement agency of the Government: Provided, That when circumstances warrant, including but not limited to threats to life and security of a candidate, he may be assigned by the Commission, upon due application, regular members of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines or other law enforcement agency who shall provide him security for the duration of the election period. The officers assigned for security duty to a candidate shall be subject to the same requirement as to wearing of uniforms prescribed in the immediately preceding section unless exempted in writing by the Commission.

If at any time during the election period, the ground for which the authority to employ, avail or engage the services of security personnel has been granted shall cease to exist or for any other valid cause, the Commission shall revoke the said authority.”

Duterte manifested, uniformed personnel and Cabinet members should hold on to their vow of serving the people, instead of joining the political activities or moving around with politicians.-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph

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