COMELEC and UP Law Center Hold Training Program for Military Officers in Preparation for 2022 Elections
On 11 March 2022, the UP Law Center, through its Training and Convention Division, conducted a live training seminar catered to various military officers of the AFP Reserve Command. This event is in anticipation of the upcoming 2022 National and Local Elections on 9 May 2022.
Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentabella of the Department of Energy, Vice-Chairperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Reserve Command Multi-Sector Government Council, stressed the importance of the program by stating that its purpose is to provide a guide to the military on how to monitor and produce a believable and proper election season for the Filipino people.
The event was also graced by Brigadier General Peter C. Suchianco, Chief of the Judge Advocate General Service Reserve, who stated that “these are the initiatives that we look forward to and need to push because, while we all know that ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith, it is a fact that a lot of people really don’t know the law.” Thus, he added, “it is our duty to inform our uniformed personnel so that we can act properly.” Brigadier General Suchianco further provided that the upcoming elections are not just the responsibility of the COMELEC, the people in government, nor the Armed Forces, but is a responsibility of the whole nation. According to him, “the future of the country is charted by the leaders that we put in place, so it is our responsibility and our duty to perform our respective roles in the coming elections as provided by law.”
UP Law Dean Edgardo Carlo L. Vistan II introduced the speakers for the event. The session featured relevant discussions on Constitutional and Electoral Laws as well as the Omnibus Election Code, which all pertain to the legal aspects governing these important events. This program likewise educated the attendees on matters relating to security, such as the proper use of firearms and the guidelines that must be followed in the operation of checkpoints.
Atty. Marwil Llasos, a holder of a degree in Master of Arts in Public Safety Administration from the National Police College and an expert in homeland security, public safety, and strategic studies, discussed the power of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to deputize the AFP along with the mandate of the latter as granted by law. He likewise shed light on the legal bases governing these elections, such as the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, Administrative Code, Omnibus Election Code, and the AFP Modernization Act.
On the other hand, COMELEC representatives, Atty. Director John Rex C. Laudiangco, head of the Gun Ban Committee and Security Force, and Atty. Jayvee Villagracia, Election Officer IV of COMELEC in the San Juan City Office, jointly articulated the Do’s and Don’ts during the election period, canvassing, and proclamation day.
In closing, Colonel Vicente M. Ronatay, Philippine Navy (Marines), Master in National Security Administration, and AFP Reserve Command Commander expressed his gratitude to the stakeholders who organized this important and successful activity. He stated that the event was a success as judged by the insightful questions generated in the open forum. He hopes to “repeat similar activities with a wider audience, possibly involving key personnel of the deployed regular units of the AFP” with the same objective of “educating our uniformed personnel on the specific roles during the elections so that we can have a safe, peaceful, and credible National and Local Elections for 2022.”
This training program serves as a vital tool in enlightening numerous law enforcers about the legality or illegality of acts that may occur in the days leading up to and during the 2022 National and Local Elections. For this reason, this program had been attended and facilitated by esteemed professors of the law, experienced election officers, and respected heads of troops.