CHR asks Comelec, law enforcers: Explain, go after those behind election violations
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has expressed concern about the election-related violence and the supposed disenfranchisement of some voters during the recently concluded polls, calling on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and other concerned agencies to explain these incidents.
In a statement on Thursday morning, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said that they take specific concerns on the 16 election-related incidents they have monitored at the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao last Monday, election day.
This includes the grenade explosions that rocked an area near the municipal hall of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao which left eight wounded, and the strafing incident just outside of the Pilot Elementary School in Buluan, Maguindanao where three members of a barangay peacekeeping action team (BPAT) were killed.
“Of specific concern, CHR takes cognizance and condemns the 16 separate poll-related incidents recorded mostly in the Bangsamoro Autonomous in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on Election Day,” de Guia said.
“These incidences of shootings, strafing, and use of exploding device not only seek to sow fear and discord on the day of elections but also mars the credibility of the elections. We urge law enforcement officials to conduct follow-up operations on individuals responsible so that they may be held accountable for their crimes,” she added.
CHR also asked for clarity on the issue of numerous vote-counting machines (VCMs) malfunctioning and other problems that made voting procedures tedious and controversial.
Similarly, the Commission is asking groups or individuals to stop harassing people involved in the parallel count of election returns, amid claims that several Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) volunteers were threatened.
“In ensuring the credibility of the elections, the Commission on Elections has the utmost responsibility to explain to the Filipino citizenry the reasons for multiple and numerous VCM malfunctions and delay in of arrival of SD cards; provide countermeasures to ensure non-recurrence of these problems in the next elections,” de Guia said.
“As we await the official results and canvassing the electoral votes, CHR takes the time to call for vigilance in protecting the election’s outcome. With conviction, CHR dissuades any individual or groups from intimidating volunteers and those involved in the parallel count of electoral returns. These are important processes that ensure legitimacy of elections and part of a normal functioning democracy,” she added.
Law enforcement agencies like the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have noted that the recently-concluded elections were generally peaceful.
However, there were many reports of irregularities, aside from violence — which has prompted some members of the opposition to refrain from conceding despite trailing big in the national elections.
CHR assured the public that it would work on safeguarding human rights regardless of the election results.
“Regardless of the election outcome, CHR takes the time to assure the Filipino citizenry on its continuing mandate and vigilance in the protection and promotion of human rights,” de Guia said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the transparency server of the Comelec showed that based on the partial and unofficial tally, former senator Bongbong Marcos already has over 31.08 million votes for the presidential race, way ahead of Vice President Leni Robredo’s 14.81 million votes.
Marcos running mate and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte leads all vice presidential candidates with 31.54 million, while behind her is Robredo running mate Senator Francis Pangilinan with 9.227 million votes.
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