Candidates vying for various local positions in Bacolod City yesterday vowed to ensure an orderly, honest and fair mid-term election in May this year as they signed a peace covenant at the city’s public plaza.
During the signing, the candidates pledged to uphold the constitution, obey all laws including the pertinent COMELEC resolutions governing the conduct of secure and fair elections
They also assured that they will reject the use of threats, violence, force, intimidation, partisan armed groups and other illegal means to advance their self interests.
The candidates promised to conduct themselves in a gentlemanly manner in all their dealings with their fellow candidates and will only discuss legitimate political issues and lay down their platform of government through free and friendly manner.
Police Regional Office-6 deputy Director for Administration Chief Supt. Manuel Felix, said PRO-6 Director Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz was happy to note that Bacolod is not included in the 40 Election areas of concerns in Western Visayas identified by the Regional Joint Peace Security Coordinating Council.
Felix attributed the non-inclusion of Bacolod City Election areas of concerns to the maximized check-point operations in the city that apparently led to the numerous confiscations of guns and bladed weapons.
He urged the local candidates to keep true to the peace covenant they signed to attain the secure and honest elections.
Imam Omar Betita of the head of the Al Dhikr Islamic Call and Guidance Center, who stood as witness at the covenant signing, said the Muslim community in Bacolod is appealing to the candidates and their supporters to stop buying the votes of the poor and the needy and, most of all to respect the freedom of the people and sanctity of the ballots.
Betita added that they are praying for the candidates so they may understand the social issues that confront society today.
Dory Cabilso of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, who represented Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra, said that they are one with the entire Catholic community in praying for the fulfillment of the people’s mission in choosing candidates who are pro-people, pro-family and pro-poor and not those who are greedy.
Cabelso said the Catholic faithful are praying that the COMELEC the PNP, the army, media and other citizen arms will work hard to ensure the 2013 elections will be peaceful and meaningful.
The peace covenant signing that was undertaken by the Bacolod City Police, was also witnessed by City Police Officer-in-charge Senior Supt. Edgardo Ordaniel, Regional Police Community Relations deputy head, Supt. Roderick Alba, Provincial COMELEC Supervisor Wil Arceño, City COMELEC registrar Mavil Majarucon and 303rd Infantry Brigade Executive Officer army Lt. Col. Patrick Singco.
Meanwhile, Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. yesterday assured that he will join the signing of the peace covenant for the Negros Occidental provincial candidates on March 1 at the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod.
He said that he hopes all candidates who sign the covenant will honor it and help ensure peaceful and honest elections.*APN
Eleven out of 53 candidates seeking an elective post in Bacolod City failed to show up at the covenant signing at the Bacolod Public Plaza yesterday.
Those who did not come were congressional candidates Lyndon Caña, re-electionist Bacolod Rep. Anthony Golez, councilor candidates Edwin Balajadia, Liberato Amante, Frank Carbon, Julius Tamayo, Jocelyn Tison, and re-electionist Councilors Carl Lopez, Roberto Rojas, Elmer Sy and Sonya Verdeflor.
Golez said he has not received any notice about the covenant.
Caña wrote acting Bacolod Police Director Senior Supt. Edgardo Ordaniel yesterday asking him to treat his letter as his signature to the covenant signing.
Vice mayoralty candidate Vladimir Gonzalez, who was in Manila yesterday, was represented by his son Jadd.
Meanwhile, Mayor Evelio Leonardia, congressional candidate of the Nationalist People’s Coalition-Grupo Progreso said he has shown in thoughts, words and deeds that he is for a secure, fair and honest election.
“This is not something new for me since, when I started in politics, I have been practicing it. So the peace covenant is a matter of formality to me,” he said. With or without this, he is for clean and honest election, Leonardia also said.
NPC mayoralty candidate Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson said he hopes the covenant will be honored by the candidates until election day.
He pointed out that he was the first victim of dirty politics when his relative Julius Sayson was fielded by his opponent to run against him.
MKK mayoralty candidate Monico Puentevella said he also hopes that candidates will engage in a mature and high level campaign.
He hopes they could serve as good examples to the younger generation who aspire to become leaders someday, he said.*CGS