Poll rally organizers urged to follow Comelec rules

Cebu City Police Office information officer Lt. Col. Maria Theresa Macatangay. (PNA File photo)

CEBU CITY –  The local police here on Tuesday advised political rally organizers for national candidates to abide by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rules and ordinances, particularly the protocols for gatherings.

Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) information officer, Lt. Col. Maria Theresa Macatangay, said political parties and their local alliances can avoid being inconvenienced or flagged down if they strictly follow guidelines amid the stricter alert level due to high cases in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) here.

Macatangay said Comelec guidelines and local policies have been disseminated to the personnel of the CCPO.

“Anyway, the ultimate source of guidelines and instructions is the Comelec. So when the Comelec says this particular exercise is in order, then we will abide (by it). When the Comelec says it is not, then we will act accordingly,” she said in mixed Cebuano and English in a presser. 

However, Macatangay believed that organizers of political sorties are abreast with the local issuances that put in place certain limits to activities that may generate a huge crowd of people, saying the city government here is the one that would issue permits for the rally.

On Monday, Mayor Michael Rama urged political groups to secure permits from the city before conducting any activities related to the May 9 elections.

“That’s the best scenario that we are hoping (that) they should keep themselves with Comelec guidelines. They should know the protocols required considering that we are still in a pandemic,” Rama said.

Meanwhile, Macatangay said the CCPO is not keen on requesting an augmentation force to support the existing personnel that will secure the 80 barangays here for the elections, as authorities have not yet listed a village as an election hotspot, or an area here placed under watch list for record of violence in previous polls.

She said the local police headquarters have not monitored the presence of private armed groups (PAG) in the capital city that would warrant a request for augmentation force. (PNA)