PN file photo

As part of measures to secure Monday’s national and local elections, a liquor ban will be implemented across the country on May 8 and 9 as the Philippine National Police (PNP) reminds the public of election rules and other prohibited acts.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has released Resolution No. 10746 imposing the prohibition on selling, furnishing, offering, buying, serving, or taking intoxicating liquor during the identified period.

“Anyone found violating any of the provisions may face the penalty of imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years without probation,” said PNP Chief Officer-in-Charge/Security Task Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., citing provisions of Comelec Resolution No. 10746.

He said the PNP is asking the public for discipline and strict compliance to avoid possible commotion or heated altercation during those crucial days.

This will also serve as a reminder to establishment owners to avoid displaying alcoholic beverages in their stores to prevent customers from being tempted to drink in public.

“We just want to maintain our peace and order in every community. Let us exercise the freedom of expression and right to suffrage in a calm and sacred manner,” Danao said in a statement.

In Pasig, the local government reminded residents to strictly adhere to the alcohol ban.

“Looking forward to an honest and peaceful election, Pasigueños!” a social media post read.

The city will close Covid-19 vaccination sites at Pasig City Sports Center, Pasig Mega Parking, SM East Ortigas, and Arcovia on May 9.

Vaccination will resume May 10, except at Pasig City Sports Center which will reopen May 11.

A day before the national and local elections also marks the commencement of the campaign ban. No candidate or supporter is allowed to conduct campaign activities anymore.

On election day, distribution of campaign paraphernalia will be in effect, especially inside voting centers.

PNP personnel will not be allowed to get inside the polling places on election day, except in cases of emergency when the Electoral Board will seek their assistance.

Danao assured the public that the 225,000-strong police force would ensure peaceful, orderly, and credible elections.

“As OIC of the PNP, we will ensure (a) secured, accurate and fair elections for 2022 and we will protect the mandate of the Constitution and the mandate of the Filipino people. Sa mga nagbabalak mandaya (Those who plan to sabotage the election), just a stern warning sa inyo ito (to you), we will use the full force of the law against you, at kung mahuli kayo pasensya, siguradong may pagkakalagyan kayo (if you get caught, you will face the full force of the law),” Danao told reporters on Friday at the sidelines of the retirement ceremony for outgoing PNP Chief Dionardo Carlos at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

He also reminded police officers to remain apolitical and treat all candidates equally.

“’Yung mga pulis naman, let us remain apolitical, non-partisan. Regardless kung kaninong kandidato yan, dapat pantay-pantay ang pagtrato natin sa kanila (A reminder to our police force to remain apolitical, non-partisan. Regardless of who the candidates are, they should be treated equally),” he said.

Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said violation of liquor ban is punishable by imprisonment under Omnibus Election Code.

As the nation prepares for Monday’s elections, Garcia reminded voters that “this is the best time to pray and pray hard.”

“A historic moment like this should never come to pass without realizing that election is such a blessing of democracy,” the poll body official said in a Viber message on Saturday. “It’s not about winning nor losing but a great test of our nationhood, of our maturity as a people.”

Garcia said “suffrage is an equalizer like no other” and “our vote is an expression of sentiment and desire for a brighter future.”

“It is reminder to the leaders that the ultimate source and repository of power is the sovereign. Let us vote and proclaim to the entire world that we control our own destiny,” he said.

The nationwide liquor ban started at 12 a.m. May 8 and will end at 11:59 p.m. on May 9. (with a report from Lade Jean Kabagani/Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)

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