PNP warns protesters: Rallies in the canvassing area will be dispersed

PNP warns protesters: Rallies in the canvassing area will be dispersed
Photo dated May 13 shows protesters assembled in front of CCP grounds for the Black Friday Protest. Police personnel block their entry to PICC for the COMELEC Canvassing.
Philstar.com / Jazmin Tabuena

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police on Monday warned protesters that any rallies outside the House of Representatives this week would be broken up but vowed that its personnel would practice "maximum tolerance" when dealing with protesters. 

At a press briefing Monday morning, Police Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao, officer-in-charge of the PNP warned protesters that if they entered prohibited areas including the canvassing area, "talagang bubuwagin kayo (we will really disperse you)."

"The threat is always there, that's why we're deploying such a large force in the area," he said in mixed Filipino and English.

"We have one company there to secure the whole area to ensure that the process of canvassing would not be hampered by anyone. So that's to prevent anyone rallying so they don't cause disorder in the area." In the military, a company has around 200 personnel.

Danao also said that even before the election started, the national police already had personnel deployed outside the House of Representatives, where the canvassing and eventual proclamation of the presidential and vice-presidential winners are slated to take place. 

"I always say, let us practice maximum tolerance especially in dealing with those rallies. Everyone has their own right to express their own grievances, but I am appealing [to them,] let us do it in the proper forum. I am asking for prudence and sobriety to all those rallies to please calm down," he said in Filipino. 

"The majority of the Filipino people have finally spoken, so let the mandate of those who won prove their worth. Let's give them a chance to prove they are worthy to lead our country," he also said, echoing the popular narrative of supporters of presumptive president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the ousted dictator.

READ: PNP accepts Cotabato City police explanation on torn ballots

On the other hand, the PNP still has not addressed the viral video showing police officers tearing used and shaded ballots at an election precinct. 

In a statement, Danao claimed the officers were tearing unused blank Official Ballots Sheets as they were mandated to under the Comelec Omnibus Election Code. He did not answer questions about the visible shade marks shown in the video in question. 

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