Peace and or­der: An elec­tion is­sue

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION -

Cebu City has been in­cluded among 29 elec­tion hotspots in Cen­tral Visayas with po­lice an­tic­i­pat­ing in­tense po­lit­i­cal ri­valry in the lo­cale. The city was coded yel­low for his­tory of elec­tion in­ci­dents and in­tense po­lit­i­cal ri­valry.

Other cities and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the re­gion such as Tubu­ran, Cebu, were coded orange for the pres­ence of armed groups in past elec­tions.

Thank­fully, no place was coded red for pres­ence of armed groups, pro­lif­er­a­tion of firearms and his­tory of vi­o­lence in by­gone polls.

We do not ex­pect can­di­dates and al­lies loyal to the cen­tral Cebu City po­lit­i­cal fig­ures, Mayor To­mas Osmeña and for­mer Mayor Michael Rama to al­low the com­ing lo­cal cam­paign to descend into vi­o­lence against one an­other.

While per­son­al­i­ties iden­ti­fied with both such as po­lice­man Ado­nis Dumpit and Er­mita Barangay Chair­man Feli­cisimo Rupinta per­ished un­der vi­o­lent cir­cum­stances not too long ago, there is no ev­i­dence that their deaths were born of the long-run­ning Osmeña-Rama feud.

The dis­so­ci­a­tion of elec­tions from vi­o­lence and blood­shed, if it should come to pass will be an achieve­ment of the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice.

This is why our po­lice­men and women must dou­ble their ef­forts to run af­ter smug­glers of firearms, man check­points, and en­force the gun ban.

Visayans should help. Politi­cians’ cam­paign lead­ers in the barangays should op­pose any plan to em­ploy bul­lets to se­cure bal­lots. Men and women on the streets should im­me­di­ately re­port to the po­lice any move­ment of armed per­sons who would dis­rupt the peace.

Ul­ti­mately, how­ever, in places where polls have been marred by killings, re­spon­si­bil­ity for peace falls at the doorsteps of in­cum­bent and as­pir­ing elec­tive of­fi­cials.

Only they can by their com­port­ment sig­nal that they re­ject vi­o­lence as a means to se­cure power, re­ject that in­jus­tice in which the in­cal­cu­la­ble num­ber of years re­main­ing to a hu­man life is sac­ri­ficed to some­one’s lust for three or six years in of­fice.

Only they can show that they have con­sciences healthy enough to seek man­dates from the voice of the peo­ple ex­pressed through their bal­lots, not from the fear­some force of guns.

Re­sort­ing to vi­o­lence is a politi­cian’s clear­est ad­mis­sion that in an elec­toral con­test based on cor­rect cri­te­ria such as hav­ing doable pub­lic ser­vice plat­forms and the abil­ity to re­solve is­sues in fa­vor of the com­mon good, he ex­pects to lose.

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