Karapatan: Investigate PNP for distributing black propaganda outside election precincts

“In an effort to pursue their smear campaign against progressive partylists, elements of the police were seen distributing materials which red-tagged groups under the Makabayan bloc on May 13, within the vicinity of election precincts. This is a blatant disregard of the law. We likewise raise the possibility of these materials being published and distributed at the expense of taxpayer’s money. The country’s security forces have shown its skewed priorities, choosing to target partylists which not only have a solid track record, but are truly representative of the marginalized,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
In Geronimo Elementary School, Sampaloc Manila, members of election watchdog KontraDaya reported that elements of the Philippine National Police were distributing newspapers within the school vicinity. The said material contained malicious allegations against Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Kabataan Partylist, and other partylists affiliated with the Makabayan Bloc, brazenly tagging said groups as communist fronts. Elements of the PNP were caught on camera.

Palabay explained that this is in violation of the Omnibus Election Code and Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 20, s. 2009. Section 261 (i) of the Omnibus Election Code prohibits members of the military, police, special forces, among others, to engage in any partisan political activity or intervene in any election campaign. According to the said provision, such actions constitute an election offense and are considered unlawful electioneering. 

“Police officers involved in this blatant disregard of the law should be punished, and those behind this insidious and dirty tactic should be investigated. Meanwhile, traditional politicians who are hijacking the partylist system and using such as a backdoor entry into Congress are being freely allowed to continue their deceit, even protected by said security forces. Of the more than 180 partylists vying for a post in this election period, the police has zeroed only on those affiliated with the Makabayan bloc. Clearly, this is an extension of their repressive red-tagging efforts, all while glossing over the rules and the processes that they should both be implementing and following,” added Palabay.

Aside from this reported incident in Sampaloc, Manila, other violations were documented by volunteers of KontraDaya. Listed are a few of those reports:

1. Ted Lazaro, Deputy Campaign Officer of BAYAN QC and accredited  MAKABAYAN coordinator,  received in his home a funereal flower arrangement from an unknown person last May 10, around 11 am . In the evening of the same date, blood in a plastic container was lobbed in his home and splattered in the sidewalk near their home in Quezon City.
2. On May 13, four pollwatchers of Anakpawis and Neri Colmenares were barred from entering the polling precinct in Brgy. Centro Norte, Sto. Niño, Cagayan Valley. 
3. Other materials red-tagging progressive partylists were also circulated in Siquijor and Cebu, in Pagadian City, in Laguna, in Montalban, among other areas. Voters also reported receiving message with false news that partylists under the Makabayan bloc have been disqualified.
4. Death threats have been received by Manuel Ferrer, in Caloocan City. This was after unidentified men rinding a motorbike left paraphernalia with his photo marked with cross on his face. Written in the said materials are "Rest in Peace Manuel P. Ferrer, NPA Supporter". Other campaign coordinators of Makabayan also reported receiving death threats

“Elections in the country can never be truly representative of the people as it is continuously mired with fraud, irregularities, and the lack of credible choices. For the most part, elections remain dominated by a majority of traditional politicians who will foremost seek to preserve their own power and wealth, at the expense of the people’s welfare. Even as we conclude another electoral season in the country, the long-standing problems in the Philippines remain unresolved. While we express alarm over the Senate’s composition, which will complete a Duterte-controlled executive, legislative, and judiciary, we ultimately rest our confidence in the people’s movement,” she ended.