Comelec starts reshuffle

THE Commission on Elections has begun identifying field officers who may be affected by the organization re-shuffle that the poll body announced last month “to avoid the appearance of a cozy relation between election managers and political players.”

“Reshuffling is done periodically when elections are near. That is not new,” Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said in a telephone interview. “We are doing that for the exigencies of service.”

Jimenez said it is possible that the reshuffle may affect “all levels of the organization.”

“Meaning, no one is unreshuffable,” he said. “One of the reasons for the reshuffle is to avoid the appearance of a cozy relationship between election managers and the political players.”

“For some levels, that means increased efficiency. Also there have been some retirements in between elections and for the most part, some have been placed in an acting capacity,” he said, adding that a reshuffle will also address deaths of personnel.

He noted, however, that there are some positions that may not be reshuffled although he did not say which.

“Sometimes, some people will not be included in the reshuffle because they have just been transferred. Sometimes, they are already doing well so they can stay in their position,” he explained.

At any rate, Jimenez said there is no prohibition to an organizational reorganizations at this time.

According to Comelec Resolution 9981, or the calendar of activities for the May 9, 2016 elections promulgated last Aug. 18, the election period was designated to last from Jan. 10, 2016 (Sunday) to June 08, 2016 (Wednesday).

But there are already some pre-election prohibitions, particularly the transfer, promotion, extension, recall or any other movement of officer or member of the foreign service corps, which will last from May 10, 2015 to Aug. 7, 2016.

During the election period, it will be illegal to transfer, move or suspend officers and employees in the civil service as well as bear or transport firearms or other deadly weapons, employ bodyguards or organize reaction forces or strike forces.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said it will adopt the best security practices it learned from the papal visit last January and the series of meetings for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

The security plan include the number of policemen to be deployed, the areas of deployment, and coordination with all concerned government agencies in the events as well as coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

During the election period, the PNP is one of the government agencies deputized by the Comelec to secure the polls.

Marquez also assured the public that the entire police organization would remain apolitical during the polls.

“I want to assure our countrymen that their national police force remains non-partisan as it focuses only on serving and protecting the community at all times,” Marquez said.

With nine months before the May 2016 elections, Marquez said the PNP is now working on security measures.

“We are back on our toes as we affirm our commitment to protect our democratic institutions and ensure that our countrymen are able to exercise their right to vote without fear of violence and harassment from lawless elements,” Marquez added. With Francisco Tuyay



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