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Judicial CP - May 2018

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Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila, 12 May 2018

Poll violators face paddles

By Edwin Fernandez and Julie Alipala


Display of paddles
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: Police and Army officials present the paddles to be used against election law violators during the May 14 village and youth council elections.

BULUAN, MAGUINDANAO -- Candidates for village and youth council elections, their supporters and even voters better prepare their buttocks for some beating if they get caught in the act of violating election laws.

A military commander said violators of election laws in the province would be subjected to spanking with the use of wooden paddles.

Lt. Col. Edgar Catu, head of the Army's 40th Infantry Battalion, said the provincial peace and order council came up with the proposed punishment at a meeting on Wednesday.

Candidates and local leaders "all agreed that election violators will be spanked," Catu said.

The punishment, however, would not end in spanking alone, Catu said. Violators would be criminally charged, too, he said.

'For the unruly'

On Thursday, Catu and Senior Supt. Edwin Wagan, Maguindanao police director, presented to the media the paddles that would be used on violators.

Soldiers made the paddles out of wood, Catu said. On each of the paddles would be carved the words, "For the unruly."

"It is good because people will behave," said Ismael Hashim, village chair of Tukanalipao, Mamasapano town, who is running for reelection.

He said all 14 incumbent village chairs and 12 other candidates for village chair in his town favored the use of paddles instead of rifle butts in spanking violators.

Violators would be punished by spanking "once or twice depending on the gravity of the offense," Hashim said.

"The idea is good so no more troublemakers during election," Hashim added.

Police were on high alert for the elections on Monday.


In Zamboanga City, Director General Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police chief, on Thursday warned policemen against partisanship.

Albayalde said policemen should stay neutral.

Any policeman caught campaigning for any candidate would be immediately punished through suspension or demotion, Albayalde said.

One case of a policeman involved in the elections was that of PO1 Bryan del Mundo, who had been accused of actively campaigning for his live-in partner, a candidate for village councillor.

Albayalde said policemen were prohibited from supporting any candidate, "even if that candidate is your spouse."

He said at least 1,900 policemen had already been relieved of duty for being related to village or youth council candidates to prevent them from directly supporting their relatives during the elections.

Albayalde said Monday's elections would be as tense as any other.

At least 22 people had already been killed in election-related violence nationwide and police were expecting more violence, especially in areas tagged as hot spots, Albayalde said.

He said at least 7,000 areas were considered critical.


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