The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the 3-day local absentee voting (LAV) from April 27 to April 30 went smoothly.
Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said the polls for the local absentee voting “started very well”.
“They are not that many, only about 84,000 more or less. But just the same, we really saw the warmth of reception, especially those in the Armed Forces, PNP, and personnel in the media.),” Garcia, in a GMA News report said.
The Comelec earlier said 84,357 voters have been allowed to avail of LAV.
The poll regulator said the applications of 9,341 individuals were “disapproved because they are either not registered or have been deactivated.”
“Since LAV can only vote for national positions, our machines are programmed for national and local elections. At the same time because there are not that many and they don’t vote at the same time, because they vote for three days, so it’s not like a computerized election that takes a whole day,” Garcia, in the GMA News report said.
The poll body further said LAV votes will be canvassed at its main office in Intramuros after polling precincts close on May 9.
PNP Directorate for Operations Director Maj. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, meanwhile said the PNP is ready to beef up the number of cops in areas that were or will be declared as hotspots under Comelec control.
De Leon, who is also concurrent deputy commander of the National Security Task Force on National and Local Elections, said the PNP has mobilized the Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) Unit to help preserve peace and security for the May 9, 2022 elections.
“There are reports and information that there are groups and individuals who are trying to disrupt the outcome of the elections. So ngayon pinaghahandaan lang natin ito (We are preparing for this),” he told reporters after a simultaneous logistical readiness test and dispatch ceremony held at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
De Leon also dismissed rumors about a possible destabilization in time for the elections.
“It’s just speculation. But, as I have said, you know when you plan your contingency lahat ng mga possible na pwedeng mangyari kaya i-appreciate itong sub-task group ng logistics (all of the possible scenarios that can happen, that is why we appreciate the creation of a sub-task group of logistics) because this is pre-activities for our send-off ceremony on May 2,” he said, referring to the presentation of equipment that will be used by authorities during elections.
De Leon said the tapping of CDMs is part of the contingency plan of the PNP for the elections.
He said this is to ensure a smooth, peaceful and safe voting and prevent any forms of violence before, during, and after the conduct of the elections.
“This is in preparation for the election as well as the post-election activities, kasi kailangan natin paghandaan ang mga (because we have to prepare for) possible scenarios. So, this is part of our contingency planning,” De Leon said.
Del Leon said two mobile force units with 81 police officers will be placed in each province.
During the dispatch ceremonial turnover, several radios, arms, guns, shields, bulletproof vests, and hazmat suits were given to personnel who will be on duty on election day. There was also transportation equipment such as motorcycles and police patrols.
PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos said the role of the police is important during elections.
He said that even before the election period, the PNP continues to establish plans and strategies in ensuring security and order with communities during the conduct of the national and local elections on May 9.
The PNP is making sure that there is sufficient logistics support for police personnel and troops that will ultimately result in the successful handling of security operations during the election, he said
“I urge each and every member of the PNP and other law enforcement agencies to observe discipline and professionalism in the conduct of our respective task force safe, honest, and orderly conduct of the elections. Furthermore, the partnership between the PNP, AFP, the coast guard, the Comelec and the cooperation of the public is, therefore, crucial and requires proper coordination and integration to effectively accomplish our primary goal,” he added.
For his part, Maj. Gen. Ronaldo Olay, PNP Directorate for Logistics director, said the equipment is not actually new but refurbished or properly maintained for use.
“For our transportation equipment for our ground vehicles all over the PNP, we have 15,000 deployable transportation equipment to include 239 watercraft and aircraft such as the H125 and R44,” Olay said.
“This involves all units of the PNP, the different police regional offices and the NSUs and they have their own logistical equipment. These logistical equipment are already deployed in our PROs (Police Regional Offices) and NSUs (National Support Units), and they are actually now being used to escort, provide security to the movement of our automated election system and the official ballots from the hub of the Comelec to the different regional and provincial hubs,” Olay explained.
He added that the PNP has started escorting automated election systems and the official ballots starting April 2 to 19 for the automated election system and April 20 to May 5 for the official ballots.
PNP Chief General Dionardo Carlos, meanwhile, assured the readiness of police units to perform election duty as deputized agents of the Comelec.
The PNP chief witnessed a showdown inspection and logistical readiness test of police resources and equipment that will be fielded for election security operations in the May 9 national and local elections.
“Twelve days ahead of the elections, all PNP units in the country have been doubling efforts to ensure the safety in the polling centers”, Carlos said.
“We will ensure that enough policemen and women will be deployed on polling precincts to guarantee the safety of the voting public, and election officials, and to enforce minimum health protocols”, he added.