3,500 cops deployed for election duty in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 07 May) — Some 3,500 combined personnel from the Police Regional Office and Davao City Police Office will be deployed to ensure the safety and security of voters here on election day, May 9.

Senior Insp. Milgrace Driz, spokesperson of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) said in an interview Friday that the officers have been briefed on their polling center assignments.

Driz said that they will deploy two to four each per polling precinct, depending on the voting population, to stand guard 50 meters away from the schools as mandated by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“Our police officers are prohibited from handling the election paraphernalia, unless they are requested by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), for example, to carry vote counting machines,” she said.

Police officers were also requested to safeguard the transport of VCMs from the Comelec warehouse in Sasa here, then to the City Treasurers’ Office before they were distributed to the schools.

“The police were also instructed to leave their polling center assignments when everything is already done. They will also escort the transport of VCMs after the election and ensure the chips of VCMs and the BEIs are secured,” she said.

A total of 1,280 VCMs – 1st District with 506 VCMs, 2nd District with 396, and third District with 378 – were provided to the city.

Jonathan Casquejo, Comelec-Davao election assistant for 3rd District, allayed fears of massive cheating on May 9. He said the final testing and sealing on the VCMs last Thursday were successful.

He noted only four VCMs from 1st District malfunctioned and were immediately replaced by backup VCMs with the assistance of the representatives of election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

PPCRV legal liaison Lawyer Aileen Lizada said the city’s 1st District has six remaining back-up VCMs from 10, 2nd District has 10, and 3rd District has nine.

The city has a total of 873,670 voters, of whom 357,551 voters are from 1st District, 267,837 from 2nd District, and 248,282 from 3rd District.

Driz also reminded the public of the liquor ban under Comelec Resolution 9582, which prohibits any person from “selling, furnishing, offering, buying, serving, or taking of intoxicating liquor on the day before and on the day of elections.”

Anyone caught violating the liquor ban will be punished with one year but not more than six years of imprisonment. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)