Comelec control possible for Cebu City, but careful evaluation needed

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo May 07,2019 - 08:04 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Declaring Cebu City under ‘Comelec Control’ amid allegations that local police are meddling with the city’s political affairs will need careful evaluation.

Lawyer Veronico Petalcorin, acting regional director of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Central Visayas, said the Joint Security Control Center (JSCC) in Cebu City would need to first identify if the incidents being cited by the camp of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña would meet the grounds for the declaration of Comelec Control.

Read more: Osmeña wants Cebu City under Comelec control 

Read more: Comelec will take into consideration Osmeña’s request for Comelec control in Cebu City

The JSCC is composed of the election officers for Cebu City’s north and south district, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director and its counterpart from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“From time to time, we have constant coordination. Wala pa man pod sila nag-ingon nga kinahanglan og Comelec Control. Mag-agad ta nila because ilaha man gyud na nga immediate jurisdiction,” Petalcorin told CDN Digital.

(We have constant coordination but they have not so far implied the need to place the city under Comelec Control. We will wait for their (JSCC) recommendation since the area is under their immediate jurisdiction.)

Based on Comelec Resolution Number 10481, the grounds that may qualify for the declaration of Comelec Control include history or current intense political rivalry that may lead to violent acts, history of previous Comelec Control declaration, presence of private armed groups and proliferation of loose firearms and serious threats of terrorism and insurgency.

If the Comelec will decide on putting Cebu City under its control then this will mean that poll body would be taking over direct supervision over all local and national government employees, including law enforcement units, that would be required by law to perform election-related duties.

On Monday May 6, Osmeña said he would want the city to be placed under Comelec Control as he believed that the local police were their “enemy.”

Osmeña had been criticizing the local police after they set up checkpoints near his residence and campaign venues.

Osmeña has also earlier claimed that the police allegedly had a hand on the strafing incidents and other forms of violence experienced by his supporters.

Read more: Homes of two village chiefs peppered with bullets 

Read more: Persons in white van attack Osmeña ally’s car showroom

According to Petalcorin, the JSCC members will have to assess and make recommendations if there is indeed a need to place the city under Comelec Control a few days into the elections.

Members of the JSCC will have to conform to the recommendation before it can be forwarded to the provincial and regional offices for further recommendation.

The final decision in placing an area under Comelec Control will be up to the Comelec en banc.

If approved, the Comelec would have to implement the conditions previously cited for an area under Comelec control.

“Pwede man (that a Comelec Control will be implemented despite the short period of time left before the election day) but ang pangutana kay naka-meet ba sa grounds ug kung recommended ba sa local election officers. If na-meet na siya and the Comelec national will approve, we are ready,” said Petalcorin.

(It can be done (that Comelec Control of an area will be implemented despite the short period of time left before election day), but the question is if they had met the the grounds for recommendation of the local election officers. If that had been meet, and the Comelec national will approve, then we are ready to implement it.)/dbs

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TAGS: city, Comelec, control, Garma, Petalcorin, Tomas Osmeña

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