Philippines youth party-list wary of more army checkpoints

May. 02, 2007

Troop deployment will aggravate, not curb, poll violence

Kabataan Party-list, the only youth party-list participating in the May polls, today stressed that more army checkpoints and troop deployments will not curb but aggravate poll-related violence.

The youth party-list delivered this statement following President Gloria Arroyo’s order for troops to ‘assist’ the Philippine National Police to stop poll violence.

“We are finding it very hard to grasp Pres. Arroyo’s logic. We think that DOJ Sec. Gonzales may be rubbing on her; it is twisted and downright insensitive. How can she say that the military’s more active role in the elections will curb violence when illegal troop deployment has been tainting the credibility of the election process at the onset?”, said Raymond Palatino, national president and nominee.

“This is what happens when we have an administration which unthingkingly applies militarist measures to every conceived national problem,” said Palatino.

Palatino added that it is the job of the Commission on Elections and the Philippine National Police to ensure that no blood be shed this election period.

“The implementation of the ‘gun-ban’, for instance, need not be used as justification by the administration to employ army intervention in the elections. It is a job for the Comelec and unarmed PNP to strictly implement. But these past few weeks, we have been hearing of gun-related poll violence in the news and what has the Comelec done? Nothing.,” said Palatino.

“We are also very uncomfortable with the knowledge that AFP-manned checkpoints will be put up in so-called election hot spots. We have not forgotten the AFP’s involvement in the Hello Garci scandal. The way we see it, AFP intervention will not only aggravate poll violence but will also provide a condition for massive electoral fraud,” Palatino said. ###

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