‘Don’t tempt the gods’: Duterte asks Comelec for rules to prevent campaign crowding | Inquirer News
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‘Don’t tempt the gods’: Duterte asks Comelec for rules to prevent campaign crowding

/ 11:14 PM December 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday to issue a directive that would ensure physical distancing to prevent crowding during campaign sorties and motorcades for the 2022 national elections.

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At the same time, Duterte repeated his warning, at his weekly taped briefing that aired late Monday night, against public complacency even as the COVID-19 situation had started to improve with the increase in vaccinations.

“We have a national emergency.  And we do not also want to curtail the right of the people to freely assemble for redress of grievances or to discuss any matter that is allowable in a democracy. But do not tempt the gods,” he said, speaking in a mix of Filipino and English.

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“So I’d like to call the attention of the Comelec… You are the ones supervising the elections. As a matter of fact, you are the one running the show… Could you not just issue a [directive] to maintain the social distance?” he added.

Duterte stressed that would not want to curtail the people’s right to assemble during political events.

“While we welcome these exercises as concrete and tangible manifestations of our healthy democracy, kindly temper your enthusiasm and act reasonably,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter many you are. You can fill up the Luneta, as long as you maintain the regulations imposed by the government. It would be difficult for us if it [surge in COVID-19 cases] returns. It might come back with vengeance…  We are not out of the woods. The virus is still there. Our status under a national emergency is still in the same,” he added.

Since the filing of certificates of candidacy last October, most of the presidential aspirants have started touring the country, conducting consultations, speeches, and discussions with crowds that usually also take part in motorcades.

At least four presidential bets — Vice President Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, former Sen. Bongbong Marcos — have conducted motorcades and town hall meetings that have attracted huge crowds.

One particular motorcade led by Marcos and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio —  the president’s daughter — was also called out recently for attracting huge crowds along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.

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Duterte said that people should only be comfortable about joining big crowds when scientists and experts could say that it would be safe to do so.

“So until it’s really safe —  when the doctors will say, the scientists will tell us that it is safe to move around and mingle again in a crowd — well, let’s wait for that,” he said.

“In the meantime, let us not suppose that since there has been a vaccine available to all. Do not ever presume there’s no longer any danger of recontamination,” he added.

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TAGS: #VotePH2022, 2022 elections, campaign crowding, Comelec, COVID-19 pandemic, Rodrigo Duterte
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