Jinggoy reiterates Manileños’ call to put the capital under Comelec control

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada reiterates and strongly urges Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. to place Manila under its control to ensure the peaceful and orderly conduct of campaigns in the area.

This was after Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno asked Comelec to declare Manila as a hot spot in the light of rising tensions between feuding political candidates.

In a recent incident, Moreno as well as some of his councilmen and supporters had a scuffle with Manila policemen over a bingo game. And Moreno’s partymates accused re-electionist Mayor Alfredo Lim of having a hand in the incident.

“Let’s not wait for things to get out of hand in Manila,” the senator said. “This incident should be a call for the Comelec to step in and prevent the tension from escalating.”

While he believes that Moreno as well as his partymates and supporters would adhere to the provisions of a covenant of peace, the senator expressed concerns that supporters from a rival political party might resort to “desperate moves” to win the polls.

Under Sec. 1 of Comelec Resolution No. 3618, the Comelec can place certain areas under its immediate and direct control when there is intense political rivalry between or among candidates, political factions or parties.

This means that the Comelec will “supervise and control the administrative activities and transactions of local government units in the localities under Comelec control and enforce therein strict compliance with the election bans and prohibitions under Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, particularly on, but not limited to, the disbursement of public funds, the construction of public works, movement of government personnel and non-intervention of civil service officials and employees as well as police and military officers and personnel.”

Comelec is also empowered “to oversee effective and necessary distribution, assignment and deployment of officers and personnel of the Philippine National Police as well as officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the locality concerned, and place under its control their activities relative to the strict enforcement of the law on the firearms ban, security personnel of candidates and private citizens, the appointment or use of special policemen for election purposes and similar prohibitions under the pertinent provisions of Sec. 261 of the Omnibus Election Code and Sec. 32, Sec. 33 and Sec. 34 of Republic Act No. 7166.”

While critics brushed off concerns of Moreno and his supporters, the Senate President Pro Tempore said it would be better if the Comelec step in this early to prevent the tension from further escalating.

“Placing Manila under Comelec control would definitely ensure peaceful and orderly elections,” the senator said.