Comelec working closely with security forces to ensure peaceful polls, official says amid Duterte’s warning

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 25)— The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Saturday echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for a peaceful 2022 polls, adding it is working closely with security forces to avoid any violence.

The statement comes following Duterte’s warning that he may be forced to "use the military" to ensure the orderly conduct of the elections.

“The Comelec shares the President’s sentiment and would like to reassure the public that it works very closely with both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to ensure that the elections are free of violence,” its spokesperson James Jimenez said.

In a speech on Friday, Duterte appealed for the public to “stick to the rule of law” during the poll period.

“Either we have an election that is free or I will use the military to see that the election is free," the chief executive warned, adding he could “call” the troops anytime to make sure that voters are protected.

READ: Duterte threatens to use military to ensure 'peaceful' 2022 polls

Jimenez said Duterte’s pronouncement is a “powerful reminder” for all candidates and their respective campaigns to reject violence.

However, he also noted the poll body can take steps to address such situation — including imposing Comelec control in concerned areas in the country.

Under this move, the Comelec can take immediate and direct supervision over all national and local officials in the area, and can exercise control over all law enforcement agencies as well as the military.