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THE filing of Certificate of Candidacy (COC) and Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) was generally peaceful.

This was the assessment of Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Police General Guillermo Eleazar, who said the PNP did not receive report of any significant incident that would have marred the eight-day filing of COCs and CONAs for next year’s national and local elections.

It was generally peaceful and orderly,” the PNP chief said.

Aside from the hard work of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the peaceful and orderly filing of COCs and CONAs could be attributed to the early preparations made by the police force and other law enforcement agencies.

We attribute this to the preparations made by our unit commanders and the hard work of our personnel on the ground,” PGen Eleazar said.

While there were incidents reported in some parts of the country, the PNP chief said they were not significant and that local police forces were able to properly address them.

On October 7, an incident of Direct Assault, Alarm and Scandal, and Malicious Mischief inside the Comelec office in Taraka, Lanao del Sur was reported that involved one Johari Cumadog, who had filed his COC for Sangguniang Bayan member. He caused commotion as he allegedly smashed chairs and harassed some local Comelec officials but police were able to subdue him.

Authorities also arrested two individuals for alleged violation of the gun ban imposed by the PNP from September 30 until 7 a.m. of October 9. Further, businessman Cesar Cometa Bukid was also nabbed in Lucena City for possession of a caliber.45 pistol as well as one Glenn Montarde in Marikina City for possession of a 9mm pistol.

The PNP chief, meanwhile, noted that some supporters of political aspirants have failed to follow the health and safety protocols being enforced during the filing of candidacies amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He lamented that those who eye national and local government positions were not able to impose to their supporters the need to observe the minimum health standards due to the unusual situation the country is facing.

It is unfortunate that despite our frequent reminders, many of our kababayan did not follow the rules set by the Comelec and the government about public health safety, but what’s sadder is that it seemed that the candidates allowed it to happen,” PGen Eleazar said.

We always hear about change every elections but whoever leader we vote for, nothing happens because real change comes from our own selves, and this starts with discipline and following rules that were crafted for our own interests and safety,” he added.

Still, PGen Eleazar commended and expressed gratitude to all police officers who have made the beginning of the electoral process a success and for sticking to observing maximum tolerance against those who disobey the guidelines set by the poll body and other stakeholders.

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