Rodrigo S. Victoria
NAVAL, Biliran – Candidates in Biliran province for the synchronized local and national elections in May 9, 2016 recently signed a covenant which stipulates the conduct of an honest, authentic, peaceful,clean and credible elections.
“A covenant is a sacred vow that each candidate must obey and follow,” Cajipo said in her message to the local candidates present during the covenant signing of elective position of member of the House of Representatives, Governor, Vice-Governor and Sangguniang Panlalawigan members held recently at the Naval Gymnasium.
In the covenant, candidates are refrain from using force, violence or organized armed groups to threaten, terrorize and intimidate the voters to disrupt the holding of free, honest, orderly, peaceful and credible elections.
PSSupt.Lito T. Bigoy, provincial director, Biliran Police Provincial Office (BPPO), who was present in the covenant signing advised the candidates not to engage in any violent act in order to preserve the peaceful situation of the entire province. He shared his experience when he was still a city director in a city in Western Samar where some politicians engaged private armed groups to terrorize voters and ensure their victory during elections. He expressed hopes for the same not to happen in Biliran this time under his watch.
Earlier, the provincial office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here, headed by Atty. Karen C. Cajipo, provincial election supervisor, in coordination with the municipal election officers of the eight towns in the province, conducted a series of lectures on the Fair Elections Act and initiated the signing of a covenant among the local candidates in the province.
Vote buying, giving and offering or promise of money, gifts or anything of value were the things also emphasized among the candidates which they must renounce and refrain from doing.
Candidates and their supporters are prohibited from posting all propaganda materials in areas not designated by COMELEC as common poster and they are also obliged to remove all campaign materials posted outside the CPA at their own expense within three days from notice.
Comelec assigned CPAs in every town in the province of Biliran where candidates can post their campaign materials.
It also reminded the candidates during the covenant to follow the rules and regulations promulgated by Comelec in bearing, carrying and transporting of firearms or other deadly weapons and not engage themselves in any illegal activity and or employ security personnel or bodyguards for violent purposes.
Candidates were also warned not to tamper the election returns and certificate of canvass to avoid penalty for criminal acts.
Local candidates in Biliran province were also told to abide and follow all election laws, rules and regulations promulgated for the conduct of elections and promote respect and professionalism to fellow candidates. # (FJ/rvictoria/PIA 8 Biliran)