Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar has ordered all units to spare no effort in stopping extortion activities by the New People’s Army during the election season.
Eleazar’s order followed President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning against communist rebels and political warlords to stay out of the national and local elections next year and that the NPA must be prevented from collecting “permit-to-campaign” fees from politicians.
“I would also like to remind candidates not to give in to these illegal activities of communist rebels. Let us do everything to ensure that next year’s elections will be clean and orderly,” Eleazar said in a statement.
He also assured the public that the PNP would be vigilant against communist terrorists and other local threat groups before, during, and even after the elections.
Eleazar, meanwhile, lauded the police and the members of the Armed Forces who conducted a joint operation that led to the confiscation of war materials in Sorsogon on Tuesday.
“I commend our police and military personnel in Bicol region for the successful operation in Sorsogon that resulted in the confiscation of war materials from the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the
Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) as part of our intensified campaign not only to end communist insurgency but also in ensuring the peaceful conduct of elections in May next year,” Eleazar said.
He also asked for the public’s cooperation and urged them to immediately report the presence of suspected NPA rebels or other lawless elements in their areas.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Earlier on, President Duterte said he wanted to leave office in June next year, after a six-year presidency, with “clean” 2022 national and local elections, especially in his home region.
In a taped television address Monday night, the 76-year-old Duterte said: “What I want, before I leave, is for Filipinos to have a taste of a clean election, especially in Mindanao. I am appealing to the leaders, to all the tribes.”
Duterte also appealed to would-be candidates to keep the conduct of the May 2022 polls peaceful.
He also warned communist rebels and warlords that he would use military and police force should they interfere in the coming national elections.
Duterte said he would not allow the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, to influence the elections.
“I will not allow fraud, especially those warlords with arms. If that’s what you’ll do, including you, the NPA, do not meddle. You’re fighting for a cause that is a losing one,” the President said.