PNP teams up with lawyers' group for Monday's election

May 7, 2010 7:39 pm 

MANILA, May 7 — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday signed a partnership agreement with a lawyers' group to safeguard the holding of clean, honest, orderly and credible elections on Monday.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed in Camp Crame on Friday between the PNP and the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) for a stronger police-civil society partnership in safeguarding the 2010 national elections.

PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa welcomed the newly-forged partnership with LENTE as a manifestation of active citizen support to law enforcement initiatives for honest, orderly and peaceful elections (HOPE) as advocated by the PNP.

LENTE is a Comelec-accredited citizens' arm composed of lawyers, law students, and para-legal volunteers from 44 law schools, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CCBCP), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) as lead convenor.

LENTE honorary chairman, lawyer Christian Monsod said LENTE is a coalition of various non-partisan groups organized to monitor election activities including the canvassing and tallying of votes in cities, municipalities and provinces around the country to protect the integrity of the electoral process and to deter commission of fraudulent acts.

LENTE Convenor lawyer Roan Libarios of the IBP said there were concerns that Monday's election might be tainted with acts of fraud and violence, and an occasion for the commission of violation of election laws and basic human rights.

Verzosa has committed to provide police assistance and protection to LENTE volunteers and support for the group's advocacy of public accountability.

The chief PNP also offered to assist LENTE in strengthening its nationwide network of legal volunteers across the country by linking-up with local PNP unit commanders at the regional, provincial and municipal levels.

During the formal MOA signing ceremony in Camp Crame on Friday, Verzosa told LENTE lawyers that the PNP Legal Service, under Chief Supt. Herold Ubalde deployed 22 lawyers to different provinces listed in the PNP's election watchlist of areas (EWA) to assist local police units in handling cases of election law violations and to provide legal assistance to PNP units and personnel facing harassment charges.

Ubalde said that there were 20 more PNP lawyers on standby and ready for deployment to assist other PNP units with their legal requirements in the performance of election duties to enforce the gunban and prevent activities of Partisan Armed Groups and other election law violations.(PNA) RMA/MM

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