M/Gen. de Leon assures of peaceful elections

TACLOBAN CITY- Eastern Visayas top military official has warned candidates not to resort to arm use just to win in the forthcoming elections.
Major General Edgardo de Leon, the commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City, made this declaration as he vowed for peaceful and orderly elections in the region with the help from the Philippine National Police(PNP) and the Commission on Elections(Comelec).
He said that it is only the members of the government forces who are allowed to carry firearms and while they are on duty.
“We will not allow any political candidate to organize an armed group. If they feel threatened, they can request for a security detail which is subject for evaluation…,” de Leon said on Monday (Feb.7)
“You can engage even in a shouting match so long as there will be no violence, no killing,” he added.
Previous elections in some parts of the region, particularly in Samar province, have been marked with killing and shooting incidents reportedly carried out by private or partisan armed groups and supported by local politicians.
The Army official also said that the arrival of troops last weekend was meant to secure the forthcoming elections across the region and fight against members of the New People’s Army.
Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry battalion of the 7th Infantry Division arrived in Samar last Saturday.
de Leon also assured the public that the 8th ID will remain to be a non-political organization whose loyalty is towards the people and to the nation.
He also dissuades any of his men not to ‘solicit’ any support from those running in this year’s elections to ensure that they will remain neutral.
“Don’t ask for any solicitation from anyone. You can ask from me to avoid any being branded for any political color. Perhaps, after the elections,” he said.
De Leon also said that he will not make any ‘unlawful order’ to any of his men whom he described to be committed, educated, and who follow the rule of engagement.
“I assure you that I will not give any unlawful order to the soldiers. I am guided by law,” he said.