Comelec to # Halalan2022 candidates: ‘Reject violence’
MANILA — Comelec on Saturday reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for peaceful elections next year as the candidacy date approaches.
Duterte, in a speech to Sultan Kudarat on Friday, said people should “truly respect the rule of law and avoid violence” for the 2022 elections.
Elections in the Philippines have been mired in violence, especially in parts of Mindanao, with the proliferation of private armed groups peaking during election season to silence rivals, Home Secretary Eduardo Año said.
But Comelec said it is cooperating “very closely” with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to ensure that the entire election season runs “without violence”.
“The president’s call for peaceful elections is a powerful reminder to all potential candidates and their campaigns to reject violence,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
“In cases where violent incidents threaten the integrity of the elections, the electoral body has the power to take the necessary measures to remedy the situation, including, but not limited to, the imposition of the control of the election. Comelec on specific parts of the country, “he added.
On November 23, 2009, 32 journalists were among 58 people who were killed and buried in a hilltop grave using an excavator after being ambushed on a deserted highway in Maguindanao.
The Maguindanao massacre, as it is known, is considered the worst case of election violence in Philippine history and the deadliest incident for journalists in the world.
The group was about to file the election documents of a rival of Ampatuan, Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, who is now a member of the Congress of Maguindanao. His then wife was among the victims.
In 2019, members of the Ampatuan clan and several others were convicted of multiple murders in the massacre.