Cordillera police chief denies inspecting VCMs in Baguio City
MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the Police Regional Office in Cordillera (PROCOR) on Monday denied inspecting the vote counting machines (VCM) stored in a warehouse in Baguio City.
PROCOR director Brigadier General Israel Ephraim Dickson said he was only checking the deployment of personnel in Baguio City in relation to election security preparations, Oplan Ligtas Sumvac (Summer Vacation), and the recent Holy Week.
He said he did not inspect the warehouse or the VCMs but only the deployed personnel securing the establishment.
“I only checked the readiness of my personnel securing the hub,” he said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.
In a campaign sortie in Cebu, senatorial bets from the opposition reportedly questioned the supposed inspection of the VCMs that will be used for the May 13 polls.
Dickson said his visit to police personnel in the warehouse took place on Holy Wednesday, April 17.
In a tweet, Commissioner Rowena Guanzon of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) also raised eyebrows on the supposed inspection, saying that “no one is allowed to inspect [Comelec] warehouses without permission, even if they are directors of the PNP.”
Guanzon also told the ranking policeman to “get out of there.”
But Dickson, in a separate statement, said he had “no intention at all” to visit any VCM hub.
He said checking on his personnel is a regular police function especially since the Cordillera police is on full alert status due to recent attacks of communist terrorist groups.
“It was just a coincidence that during the supervision, the VCMs were being unloaded and no warehouse supervisor from the Comelec was in sight for a coordination to be made,” he said.
“Therefore no existing Comelec laws and resolutions were violated,” he added. /je
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