Policemen vow to be apolitical in May elections
Amid a controversy involving Philippine National Police generals supposedly supporting a presidential candidate, top police officials took an oath and signed a covenant of non-partisanship ahead of the May elections.
One by one, more than a hundred provincial directors, city directors, chiefs of Metro Manila police, and heads of operational and administrative units of the PNP signed a white tarpaulin symbolizing their vow to remain apolitical, in a ceremony at Camp Crame on Tuesday.
Four PNP officials, all holding sensitive positions, have been implicated in electioneering allegations after they were seen with the group of Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas in a confidential meeting weeks ago at a hotel in Araneta Center Complex in Cubao, Quezon City.
PNP directorate for intelligence head Police Director Generoso Cerbo Jr. and Chief Superintendents Renier Idio, Bernardo Diaz and Ronald Santos did not attend the oath-taking as all regional directors were attending an audit presentation to the Commission on Audit.
But PNP chief Ricardo Marquez on Tuesday said they are not exempted from the oath.
In a speech, Marquez urged police officials, as well as their subordinates, to remain true to their oath and to keep in their minds the core purpose of the police in the elections as a democratic exercise in the country.
“A big part of effort that we have done since the 2010 and 2013 elections and during this election is to be as impartial, as non-partisan as possible,” he said in a speech at the multipurpose hall in the PNP headquarters.
“Don’t lose sight of our core purpose for this election and that is to help create an environment that will be conducive to the holding of peaceful and orderly elections,” he said.
Citing an order from their commander-in-chief, President Benigno Aquino III, the PNP chief said: “We are given instructions by the President to be a big part of the elections. Makiisa tayo sa isang malawakang kilusan para magkaron ng isang maayos at patas na halalan.”
“We signed the oath of non-partisanship and we hope that every member of the police force will remain true to their oath; let’s remain firmly non-partisan,” Marquez added.
In an ambush interview after the oath-taking, Marquez said that similar to when police officers in Abra province signed a peace covenant, the officials affixed their signature on the non-partisanship oath “kasama doon ‘yung pledge ng buhay nila.” JE
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