In a move designed to prevent, if not minimize, possible election-related violence induced by intoxication during the tailend of the campaign period for the May national and local elections, the Commisssion on Elections (Comelec) en banc decided to extend the liquor ban from two days to five days effective Thursday, May 9, to Monday, May 13 (election day).
Voting 4-1 in its Minute Resolution No.13-0322, the en banc is of the opinion that the last five days of the election period are the most heated leg of the campaign when “miting de avances” and parades are held and tensions between partisan supporters of political parties and candidates are at their height.
Lone dissenter Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, however, believed the poll body does not have the power to expand the two-day coverage of the liquor ban under the Omnibus Election Code.
Brillantes said anybody who wishes to question the decision of the en banc on the matter is welcome to file a petition before the Supreme Court.
He added he is more concerned about the local elections which are parochial in nature with more die-hard partisans than those of the national elections.
Exempted from the five-day liquor ban directive are hotels and other tourist-oriented establishments accredited by the Department of Tourism.
With only two months before the mid-term elections, Brillantes announced yesterday the poll body has required officials of both the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces to submit, every two weeks, a status report on the peace and order situation in the whole country.
“We want to know or monitor the peace and order situation so we will know which areas need to be classified as and placed under areas of concern, immediate concern, grave concern and Comelec control,” Brillantes said.
As to the ongoing negotiations for the acquisition of the controversial Source Code from copyright owner Dominion Voting Systems, Brillantes reported that “it is still ongoing but what I can say is that I’m more optimistic now than during the past weeks. The negotiation now is between the lawyers of Smartmatic and Dominion. I’m more confident now...just give us a couple more days.”