A very dangerous election

Jan 10, 2019

Next year’s mid-term elections might yet turn out to be one of the most violent and bloody political exercises in the history of the Philippines if nothing is done to prevent and stop the rash of killings happening all around the country.

For the past several months of 2018 a number of politicians, some incumbent while others are vying for re- election or a new term of office, have succumbed to death by violent means and mostly due to fatal gunshot wounds. Some of these politicians who have met a violent end include not only mayors, vice mayors or just recently a party list congressman, but even village leaders such as incumbent or former Barangay Captains or Barangay Kagawads.

The increasing number of election related violence points to the stark reality that somehow the guns, gold and goons mentality of politics is once again rampant.

If the authorities such as the Commission on Election (Comelec) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are to prevent the dangerous and increasing prevalence of election related violence in the country it should adopt more stringent measures to halt its progress.

Some preventive measures that could be taken by the authorities is to heighten their vigilance and close monitoring of certain areas in the country already declared as political and election hotspots. This can be done by putting more boots (personnel) on the ground to monitor closely the developing political situation. The Comelec and the PNP are already aware that there are certain and specific areas or regions in the country that has had a long history of election related violence. Given this knowledge it will certainly not be difficult for them to increase the number of their personnel in those areas with the function of closely monitoring the actual developing political situation on the ground. These agencies, especially the PNP, will surely know the value of gathering vital information on the ground using human intelligence or HUMINT.

If authorities are inclined to use so called “assets” in obtaining information and as a tool in the deterrence and prevention of crime then the same strategy can be adopted to closely monitor the activities of politicians or those vying for elective positions during election time in these so called election hotspots. This way these candidates can be properly assessed and evaluated whether they reveal any indication or inclination to use violence to achieve their goal of sitting in an elective public office.

When a particular politician or political candidate is discovered or suspected of harboring violent designs against his opponent then the Comelec or the PNP can immediately warn him or her against pursuing said evil intent any further on the pain of severe administrative or criminal sanctions.

It must be remembered that the PNP has the largest and foremost intelligence gathering apparatus and network in the whole country and if it wants it can very well deter and thwart incipient election related violence.

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