Majority of candidates running for provincial posts showed up at the Virac town plaza last Sunday morning to take the Pledge of Integrity for the conduct of free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections this coming May 9, 2022.
Reelectionist Governor Joseph Cua and rival Vice Gov. Shirley Abundo signed the Peace Covenant printed on a tarpaulin while reelectionist Congressman Hector Sanchez and rivals Atty. Oliver Rodulfo and former Bato Mayor Eulogio Rodriguez also did the same.
Vice gubernatorial bet and San Andres Mayor Peter Cua was likewise present during the Unity Walk and Peace Covenant Signing organized by the Provincial Joint Security Control Center chaired by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and composed of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army (PA), and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), as well as deputized agencies such as DILG, PIA, DPWH, Dep-Ed, DOH, and FICELCO.
On hand were candidates for seats in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan including former PBM Atty. Fred Gianan Jr. and Jan Alberto.
Also present were some municipal candidates from several towns including Virac Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento Jr., former Mayor Samuel Laynes, Councilor Juan Paolo Sales, Councilor Robert Maullon, Councilor Rosie Olarte, former PBM Ariel Molina, and former Councilor Joseph Mendoza.
Those who took their oath to the pledge vowed not to “employ any form of violence, force, or threat that may impair, impede, or unduly influence the free exercise of the people’s right of suffrage.”
They also promise to ensure the prompt and accurate reporting and disclosure of campaign-related expenses.
“I will not offer or give bribes or gifts to corrupt the integrity of our democratic processes,” the candidates said in reading the pledge, committing to “run a clean campaign, observing fairness, common decency, honesty and good faith.”
They likewise stood to fight against discrimination in all forms, promote gender sensitivity in the campaign and vowed not to tolerate any form of violence against women in politics.
The event came three days after the COMELEC, its deputized agencies and election stakeholders conducted a prayer rally at the same venue and launched the SAFE (Secure, Accurate, Fair, Free Elections) NLE 2022 on Feb. 17.
Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Alberto Cañares III was represented by acting Virac election officer Atty. Maico Julia Jr. during the ceremony that began at 5 PM with an interfaith prayer rendered by Rev. Fr. Dela Rosa, Imam Nasser Dimatunday and Pastor Francis Ocray.
The election officials were joined by officers of the police, Army and Coast Guard as well as church leaders and representatives of various sectors in signing the pledge of commitment to SAFE NLE 2022.
The signatories expressed their commitment to secure NLE 2022 by safeguarding all Filipino people in the exercise of their right to vote, free from danger, harm or violence from any person, political entities or parties, or enemy of the state; an accurate NLE 2022 by ensuring that election processes are properly implemented and executed in accordance with the law and election guidelines and resolutions issued by the COMELEC; a free and fair NLE 2022 by warranting that every registered voter can vote for the candidate of his/her own choice, free from duress and/or intimidation and by remaining apolitical and non-partisan, giving equal treatment to political candidates and parties; and, a peaceful NLE 2022 by maintaining internal security with the active support of the community during the election period.
“We, the PNP, AFP, PCG, COMELEC, government officials, church leaders and representatives of various sectors of the community, signify and call upon our countrymen, election candidates and non-candidates alike to unite in serving and protecting the interest of the Filipino people and our country as we look forward to the NLE 2022. Let us rebuild this nation once again after its devastation from COVID-19 pandemic, calamities and other forms of violence,” the manifesto stressed.