Sarmiento to PNP: Ensure peaceful elections, stay apolitical
Interior Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento has a challenge for the Philippine National Police this year: ensure the peaceful conduct of national and local elections.
“To the PNP, the biggest challenge that you (are facing) now is to maintain a peaceful 2016 elections,” Sarmiento said in his speech at the traditional New Year’s call in Camp Crame on Tuesday.
At the same time, PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez urged the officers of the 160,000-strong police force not to allow themselves to be used by politicians for their personal ends.
“Let me remind you that we, in the PNP, remain apolitical and must never allow ourselves to be used for anyone’s political ends,” said Marquez.
Citing the role of police in the security of past elections, Marquez said the PNP should raise their standards in securing the upcoming general elections.
“Once more, we reprise the role we played well in the 2010 and 2013 elections when we effectively secured the ballot and ensured the conduct of peaceful and orderly elections,” said Marquez.
“The challenge for us now is to surpass the achievements of the 2010 and 2013 election security operations and make 2016 even better.”
Marquez said the rotation police commanders will be implemented before January 10, or the start of the election period.
This is to prevent politicians, particularly candidates in the elections, to influence police forces in their areas.
But not all commanders will be reshuffled. Affected by the mandatory rotation are officers who:
*have been in their post for more than two years;
*have relatives participating in the elections;
*display their support for a particular candidate.
The rotation will be implemented in all police units in Metro Manila and in the regions. TVJ