President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday issued a stern warning to political warlords and the New People’s Army to stay out of the May 2022 elections, adding he would not think twice on using the police and military to ensure orderly polls.
“I will not allow fraud, and those acting tough. Especially those who have long been in politicals, political warlords with arms,” he said in a late night public address.
He made the remark as armed personnel prepares to prevent communist terrorists from collecting “permit-to-campaign” fees from politicians.
“Also NPA, stay out of this. Do not interfere with elections,” he added.
Duterte, meanwhile, reiterated that he wanted to give Filipinos “clean” elections before he steps down as president.
“Before I step down, I want Filipinos to experience a clean election,” he said.
He also appealed to would-be candidates, especially in Mindanao, to keep the conduct of polls peaceful.
“I am appealing to the leaders, all tribes…I said if you do not follow a peaceful path in the elections, I will order the Army and police there. I’ll have them disarmed and detain you. I will answer to the reason why you are detained if you are involved in terrorism,” he added.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier backed Duterte’s call to ensure violence-free elections.
“The President’s call for peaceful elections is a powerful reminder to all would-be candidates and their campaigns, to reject violence. The Comelec shares the President’s sentiment,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said.