Malacañang on Friday cautioned “those who have sinister plans and evil machinations” in the May 13 midterm elections to stop their scheme or they would be prosecuted.
President Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the “stern warning” as he urged “candidates across the political spectrum” to ask their supporters to observe an honest and peaceful elections.
He cited that “concerns and apprehensions have been raised by various quarters relative to the conduct of the coming elections” but assured the public that President Rodrigo Duterte “has put in place measures designed to determine if cheating has been committed in the polls.”“We are thus issuing a stern warning to those who have sinister plans and evil machinations of thwarting the will of the electorate to abandon them,” he said in a statement.“Any violator will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. No one will be spared regardless of their political affiliation or station in life,” he added.
He urged Filipino voters to exercise their right to suffrage as he called on candidates to help ensure a peaceful and credible elections.
“We enjoin all Filipinos who are eligible to vote to participate in this healthy democratic exercise as we call on all candidates across the political spectrum to ask their supporters to observe an honest, orderly, peaceful and credible elections reflective of the people’s genuine will,” he said.
Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, urged the Commission on Elections “to do its constitutional duty as the sentinel of the elections in ensuring the integrity of the ballots.”
“Any form of cheating committed by the electoral body’s personnel or contractor (Smartmatic) will not to be tolerated by this Administration,” he said.
“The practice of the sacred right of suffrage,” he noted “is the strongest form of action an individual can perform in a democratic society.”
“This is the only time that the rich and poor alike as well as the powerful and the weak will have equal value in the weighing scale as regards their vote. Any hindrance or manipulation of the right to vote is a lethal attack against the very heart of our country’s democracy,” he added.
Panelo said the government “is all set for the elections with 36,000 schools now ready to be used as polling precincts and 230,000 teachers as members of the Electoral Boards and technical support for Monday’s elections, as per the Department of Education.”
The Philippine National Police (PNP), he said, would deploy 150,000 police personnel nationwide “to ensure public safety and security on Election Day.”
He also said the PNP has “launched the National Election Monitoring Action Center to monitor situations in all polling centers from Camp Crame, including the arrival of vote counting machines (VCMs), counting of ballots, and delivery of ballot boxes.”