Cebu poll bets sign peace covenant with cops, soldiers

PEACE COVENANT. Commission on Elections-Cebu supervisor Jerome Brillantess (3rd from right) and Cebu Provincial Police Office chief Col. Engelbert Soriano (4th from right), along with re-electionist Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and her challenger, former Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, and other bets from seven legislative districts in Cebu province, release doves to symbolize peace at the CPPO headquarters in Cebu City on Tuesday (March 22, 2022). The officials and candidates signed a peace covenant ahead of the May elections. (Screengrab from Cebu Capitol PIO’s Sugbo News video)

CEBU CITY – Local candidates on Tuesday gathered at the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) headquarters on Tuesday to sign a covenant to abide by the laws and to commit to accurate, safe, free, and fair elections on May 9, 2022.

Gubernatorial candidates, incumbent Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, a re-electionist, and former Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, led other candidates from the seven legislatives districts of Cebu province in signing a covenant printed on a huge tarpaulin as well as releasing of doves, symbolizing a peaceful electoral race.

Lawyer Jerome Brillantes, Commission on Elections-Cebu supervisor, told the candidates to consider the pact as “a covenant made by God to men,” stipulating sacred terms and conditions with a result that will redound to the benefit of the Cebuano voters.

“This election is not my election. This is your election. We (jn Comelec), together with other government agencies are just facilitating the conduct of credible elections,” Brillantes said.

Brillantes also said members of the Philippine National Police, who will be called – along with the Task Group Cebu of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – to secure polling places, must ensure neutrality in fulfilling their mission.

CPPO chief Col. Engelbert Soriano assured the people of Cebu that they can exercise their freedom to choose their leaders, stressing the police’s vital role in ensuring safe, accurate, and fair elections.

“This may seem ceremonial and may even be hypocritical. But it shows the commitment to peace and respect for Cebuano’s freedom to choose their leaders and respect the mandate of the people,” Soriano said.

In his message of commitment, Durano, who hails from the 5th District of the province, commended the police and the military for organizing the event.

He, however, urged the organizers to look at the possibility of including in the covenant the prevention of the taking down of political opponent’s propaganda materials, saying such practice is unfair to candidates.

Garcia, meanwhile, said having a peaceful election would be dependent on the candidates who signed the commitment to prevent a “chaotic” province during the elections.

“I can commit here and now that even in the midst of all the chaos and disorder that we may perhaps experience in the midst of darkness, I will always look forward to more shining moments for our beloved Cebu,” Garcia said.

Beginning with ecumenical prayers by a member of the Roman Catholic clergy, a pastor, and an imam, the event culminated with the release of doves. (PNA)