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Poll period starts; 18,000 posts up

/ 01:05 AM January 12, 2013

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Let the circus begin.

The election period officially starts today (Sunday) but candidates for national positions can only start campaigning on Feb. 12, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Saturday.

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Up for grabs are 18,053 elective posts, including 12 Senate seats, 233 House of Representatives slots, 58 party-list positions and 80 provincial governor slots.

Brillantes said that with the onset of the election period, a national gun ban is in effect while the transfer or suspension of civil service officials and employees are prohibited.

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“They can hire, promote, but they cannot do a reshuffle. They need to seek permission from us first,” Brillantes said in an interview.

Except for party-list groups which can campaign starting Feb. 12, other members of the House and local officials can campaign only from March 29, Brillantes said.

In line with the election gun ban, the police will crack down on loose firearms.

Checkpoints will be set up starting midnight Sunday all over Metro Manila.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Leonardo Espina said policemen would strictly implement the gun ban in the run-up to the May elections.

“As the chief of the metro police, I order this time a serious crackdown on loose firearms. We will be aggressive about this,” Espina said in a phone interview.

Espina, however, assured the public that while they would be aggressive against criminals, policemen manning checkpoints would maintain courtesy. “We will be very strict but with utmost courtesy,” he said.

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He said checkpoints would be well-lit and manned by uniformed teams of law enforcers led by an officer. They would have a sign indicating they are checkpoints, and would have marked police vehicles in the vicinity.

Espina said all police units in Metro Manila would conduct the checkpoints in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Comelec.

Brillantes said those exempted from the election gun ban include officers with security or law enforcement functions at the Philippine National Police, AFP, Department of Justice, Presidential Security Group, Bureau of Corrections, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of the Treasury, Philippine Ports Authority, Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Manila International Airport Authority, and Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority.

Also exempted are the secretary, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and the internal security of the secretary of interior and local government; the secretary, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, prosecutor-general, chief state prosecutor, and state, regional, provincial and city prosecutors; the solicitor-general; the ombudsman, deputy ombudsman and investigators and prosecutors of the Office of the Ombudsman; the chairs and commissioners of the Constitutional Commissions; the chief public attorney; the Office of Vice-President; senators who are not running for reelection, and Cabinet secretaries.

Also exempted are members of private security agencies, justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeal, and judges of the regional trial courts, and municipal trial courts and security personnel of foreign diplomatic corps and establishments.

As this developed, a Catholic archbishop said yesterday that leading local candidates in “jueteng”-infested areas could get up to P50 million in “donations” from jueteng lords.

Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said operators of the illegal numbers game “invest” from P30 million to P50 million in the campaigns of leading candidates to ensure continued protection.

“They give away money, mostly in municipal, city and provincial elections,” he said.

He said the money given out during elections is different from the “regular payola” that local officials in cahoots with jueteng lords get. With reports from Julie M. Aurelio and Jaymee T. Gamil

 First posted 8:52 pm | Saturday, January 12th, 2013

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TAGS: 2013 election campaign period, 2013 elections, campaign period, Comelec, Elections, Government, News, Philippine Congress, Philippine elections, Philippine Government, Philippine politics, Philippine Senate, Politics, Sixto Brillantes Jr.
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