Comelec, PNP, Army hold coordinating conference Friday on election activities

January 7, 2010 11:02 pm 

By Judy Flores-Partlow

DUMAGUETE CITY, Jan. 7 – The Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army in Negros Oriental are meeting Friday for their first coordinating conference in preparation for the May 2010 automated polls.

This, as the Comelec and law enforcement agencies gird for the election period that will officially start on January 10, with the total gun ban and other prohibitions taking effect immediately, said Negros Oriental provincial police director Sr. Supt. Augusto Marquez, Jr.

He noted the PNP and the military will take the cue from Negros Oriental acting provincial election supervisor Atty. Eddie Aba on the guidelines for next year’s polls, considering that Comelec will be holding the first nationwide fully automated elections in 2010.

The Comelec, an independent constitutional body supervising the electoral process, will act as lead agency in exercising certain administrative, quasi-judicial and judicial powers within the election period.

Both the PNP and the Armed Forces shall be under the supervision and control of the poll body during that period, he said.

Expected to be discussed during Friday’s meeting are the implementation of the total gun ban, the application for exemption from the gun ban by police auxiliary units and special civilian auxiliary units of the military, reshuffling or movement of police and military personnel, the conduct of random checkpoints, and the assignment of security details to politicians requesting for the same.

Also, one of the highlights of the meeting is the identification of election watchlist areas or better known as “hotspots” in Negros Oriental, Marquez said.

Initially, the towns of Sta. Catalina, Siaton, Zamboanguita, San Jose, Vallehermoso and the cities of Canlaon and Guihulngan, have been named a possible election “hotspot” due to the presence of the insurgency.

Other areas that have a history of election-related violence are also being included, such as La Libertad, where at least seven people were killed at the height of the election period in 2007.

Atty. Eddie Aba is expected to brief the police and military on guidelines for the May 2010 polls as he returns to Dumaguete on Friday after attending a seminar this week in Manila on the automated elections. (PNA) LAP/JFP

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