Resolution No. 7747
DEPUTATION OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES,
FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENSURING FREE, ORDERLY, HONEST
PEACEFUL AND CREDIBLE CONDUCT OF THE MAY 14, 2007
SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS.
Promulgation: 21 November 2006
WHEREAS, Article IX, C, Section 2(4) of the 1987 Constitution empowers the COMELEC deputize the armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), with the concurrence of the President, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections;
WHEREAS, Article XVI, Section 5(3) of the 1987 Constitution provides that the members of the AFP shall be insulated from partisan politics and prohibits all members thereof from engaging, directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity, except to vote;
WHREAS, the conduct of the elections is a purely and absolutely civilian process which, however, requires the assistance and cooperation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines;
WHEREAS, there is a need to clearly define the role of the AFP during national and local elections in assisting to the COMELEC in protecting the electoral process while ensuring that its officers and personnel are insulated from partisan politics and are protected from unwarranted accusations of engaging in partisan political activities;
WHEREAS, the COMELEC and the Department of National Defense (DND)has entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA), wherein the COMELEC shall only deputize actual units or commands of the AFP in areas affected by serious armed threats to the electoral process as jointly identified by the COMELEC and the DND-AFP.
NOW, THEREFORE, the Commission on Elections, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution, the Omnibus Elections Code and other related election laws, has RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES as follows;
SECTION 1. Coverage of Deputation. The Commander and officers and members of actual units and commands of the AFP in areas which may hereinafter be affected by serious armed threats to the electoral process as jointly identified by the COMELEC Chairman and the Chief of Staff, AFP, are hereby deputized to ensure free, honest, peaceful and credible national elections on May 14, 2007.
The term serious armed threats shall refer to the presence of paramilitary forces, private armies or identifiable armed bans widely perceived to have committed or is committing terrorism, fraud, or other election irregularities and threaten or tend to disrupt the holding of free, honest, and orderly elections in any political subdivision or unit or any part thereof.
SECTION 2. Mechanism for the Determination of Areas Under Serious Armed Threat. - The COMELEC and the AFP, through the Executive Director (ED) and Deputy Chief of staff for operations, (J3), respectively, shall jointly submit to the COMELEC Chairman and Chief of staff, AFP a periodic report recommending the areas to be considered as being affected by serious armed threats: Provided, That, the first report shall be submitted not later than December 31, 2006. For this purpose, the ED and J3 shall provide the mechanisms necessary to facilitate the process of reporting by their respective field officials and officers.
SECTION 3. Duties and Functions of Deputized AFP Units. The COMELEC deputation to the deputized AFP units shall only include the following functions:
- providing security to the area covered by the serious armed threat by deploying sufficient AFP visibility in the area;
- manning the checkpoints in locations jointly identified the COMELEC and the AFP; and
- enforcing the ban on carrying of firearms by persons who do not poses the necessary authorization from the COMELEC to carry, possess or transport firearms.
For this purpose, the COMELEC shall designate the particular COMELEC official responsible for said area covered by the serious armed threat from whom the deputized AFP Commander and units shall get their instructions and assigned tasks exclusively during the period of the deputation.
SECTION 4. Prohibited Deputations. The COMELEC deputation shall not, in any case, include the performance of election duties such as the following:
- counting or canvassing of voters. In no case shall any counting or canvassing be conducted inside military camps, installations, and facilities;
- clustering of precincts;
- transporting of ballots and other election paraphernalia and election results; provided however, that AFP units may, subject to the approval of the AFP Chief of staff be requested to provide air, land, and naval vessel escorts to the transportation facilities used in transporting election paraphernalia when the security provided by the Philippine National Police cannot address the threat, as determined by the AFP Chief of staff and the COMELEC Chairman;
- acting as security escorts to candidates;
- provide security to polling places and to members of the Boards of Election Inspectors;
- provide security the personnel of the COMELEC and other employees of the government performing election duties, including accredited citizen?s arms; and
- make available certain AFP facilities, such as land, sea, and air transportation, communication systems, and other equipment in connection with the election subject to Item (c) hereof.
SECTION 5. Precedence of COMELEC Orders. Orders issued by the Commission in connection with the May 14, 2007 national and local elections shall take precedence over and above the orders and directives issued by any other office or agency of the Government.
Notwithstanding the deputation of specific units or commands, the AFP shall continue with the conduct of all Internal Security Operations or its own functions responsibilities.
SECTION 6. Effectivity. This Resolution shall take effect on the seventh (7th) day following its publication in at least two (2) daily newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.
SECTION 7. Dissemination. The Executive Director shall furnish copies of this Resolution to the Secretary of the Department of National Defence , Chief of Staff of the AFP, the Regional Election Directors, the Provincial Election Supervisors and Election Officer/Officers-in-Charge. The Executive Director shall coordinate with the above-named department and offices for effective implementation hereof.
The Education and Information Department shall cause the publication of this Resolution in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation, and disseminate this resolution for the information of the public.