The Philippine National Police, in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement, said Wednesday it was conducting “continuous background check” on 10 presidential aspirants for the May 9, 2022 elections to find out who among them is corrupt.
The 10 are in the Comelec list although only five are often in the range of the social media and the mainstream print and broadcast news organizations.
“Background checks are continuous,” PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos told a press conference.
But he added: “At the end of the day, we will not jump the gun. We are not directed to name names. We will just do our work. Submit our report to our command line, leadership.”
In a pre-recorded Talk to the People aired Tuesday, Duterte said he would soon bare who among the presidentiables was the “most corrupt.”
“In due time, I will personally name the candidates, maybe what is wrong with them. the people need to know because you are electing a president,” he said.
“I will tell you who is the most corrupt candidate. I am not politicking. I am talking to you as your president. There are things you must know,” Duterte added.
In an earlier speech, Duterte accused a presidential candidate whose identity he did not disclose of being a cocaine user, a claim Carlos said in which they have no evidence to date.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections will sponsor a total six presidential and vice-presidential debates when the official campaign period for national posts begins on Feb. 8.
Speaking at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay on Jan. 26, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, said one “back-to-back” presidential and vice-presidential debate will be staged in the last part of February.
Another set of debates will be held in March, while the final set will take place in April.
The Comelec has yet to release guidelines that will determine the debate parameters, including what candidates are allowed and not allowed to bring to their respective podiums.
These guidelines will be discussed with candidates, then whatever is agreed upon will be written down in a memorandum of agreement.
There will be no live audiences for the debates in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but journalists who are vaccinated or who can submit a negative swab test result will be allowed at the venues.
The poll body is also thinking about holding some of the debates in the Visayas and Mindanao, as proposed by commissioners.
There will be partitions between candidates on stage. They may also opt to remove their face masks.
Candidates are not compelled to attend the debates, but the podiums assigned to them–should they decide not to attend– will be left empty, said Jimenez.
He added, however, that the commission is “pretty confident they will attend.”
In related developments, the Comelec has earmarked “standby funds” to provide “medical and legal assistance” for teachers sitting on the electoral boards during the May 9 national and local elections this year.
This is in light of the non-inclusion of COVID-19 risk allowance in the Comelec’s 2022 budget, according to Jimenez.
Meanwhile, Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas earlier said the proposal was not approved by the Department of Budget and Management.
The poll body was asking for a P41.9 billion budget, but the DBM approved only P26 billion.
At the same time, Jimenez said there are ongoing consultations with the health department on the rule on mandatory use of face shields at the polling centers.