Malacañang on Tuesday, May 15, hailed the generally peaceful conduct of the first ever democratic electoral exercise under the Duterte administration.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. in a Palace press briefing congratulated the duly elected officials who won the recently concluded Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
“[W]e thank everyone for the full support and cooperation in ensuring that the 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections had been relatively peaceful and orderly in all regions of the country,” Roque stressed.
Citing data from the National Election Monitoring Action Center (NEMAC) in Camp Crame, Roque said there were a total of 47 separate cases of violence since the election period began on April 14. Of these cases, only seven were validated to be election-related, he noted.
Although there was no serious threat monitored by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with regard to the conduct of the polls, Roque said contingency measures were laid out by the government to ensure the people’s safety during the election period.
This includes the deployment of sufficient number of specially trained and equipped AFP personnel in Commission on Elections-identified red areas, he stated.
The Palace Spokesperson noted there were a few isolated incidents of threats against Filipino teachers serving as election officers. In some cases, teachers who were not able to serve due to security issues were replaced by police officers.
On the other hand, Roque said those who did serve received cash cards from the government, including teachers in Bukidnon who were set to get their cash cards on Tuesday, May 15.
Furthermore, a total of 91 Temporary Operators Permit (TOPs) and Ordinance Violation Receipts (OVRs) were issued to various public and private vehicles by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (i-ACT).
“Jeepneys bearing the signage of COMELEC, which were not authorized by the commission, were flagged down and meted with appropriate charges,” Roque said, citing DOTr’s previous warning to operators not to allow candidates to use their public utility vehicles (PUVs) to perform acts “inimical to the conduct of an Honest Orderly Peaceful Elections (HOPE).”
President orders 2 Asecs to resign
Meanwhile, Malacañang revealed that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has advised two Assistant Secretaries to tender their resignations or face termination over allegations of corruption.
Secretary Roque named Assistant Secretary Moslemen T. Macarambon, Sr. of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Assistant Secretary Tingagun A. Umpa of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as the latest officials who would face the axe due to their alleged involvement in corrupt practices.
According to Roque, an investigation conducted by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) revealed that Asec. Macarambon regularly intervened on behalf of suspected smugglers of gold and other precious jewelry at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Likewise, investigations conducted by the DPWH revealed that Asec. Umpa also committed grave abuse of power and may have committed acts of corruption, among others.
“DPWH has sworn statements where Asec. Umpa allegedly asked from contractors in the ARMM [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] area for certain percentages from projects awarded to these contractors,” Roque cited.
The Cabinet official said it is now up to the Office of the Ombudsman to file appropriate cases against the two erring officials.
“Gaya ng aking sinasabi po, ang mga kaso po ay katungkulan na ‘yan ng Ombudsman, bagamat meron pong imbestigasyon na ginawa ang [DOJ] at tsaka ang [PACC] na pupwede pong gamitin ng Ombudsman sa kanilang mga imbestigasyon,” Roque stressed.
President Duterte to meet PNG Prime Minister O’Neill
During the same press briefing, Malacañang announced that the President is set to meet Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill during a three-day official visit to the Philippines on May 15-17.
Secretary Roque said the event would be an important opportunity to reaffirm and further strengthen the country’s friendly and cooperative ties with Papua New Guinea.
“With our similar histories and shared aspirations for greater peace, progress and prosperity for our peoples and region, the Philippines stands ready to work with Papua New Guinea for the mutual benefit and sustainable and inclusive growth of our nations,” Roque said. ### PCO-Content