MORE than 300 retired officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), former government officials, employees and rebel returnees have called for the immediate scrapping of the agreement entered into by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with Rappler.

In their “Manifesto for Unity, Peaceful and Honest Elections,” the signatories pointed out that the agreement between Comelec and Rappler endangers the credibility and integrity of the electoral process and puts the will of the people at risk.

They added that while their group wanted to ensure that the May 9, 2022 national elections would transpire peacefully and smoothly, the Comelec’s decision to give Rappler a huge role casts a huge doubt about partiality and ability of the poll body to hold credible elections.

“WHEREAS, WE DISAPPROVE the partnership entered into by COMELEC with RAPPLER for fact-checking, poll-related content production, and voters’ awareness promotion during the election season. As stated by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), the People’s Lawyer, such arrangement is encroaching the powers and rights of COMELEC,” the manifesto categorically stated.

“Moreover, this arrangement endangers the credibility and integrity of the electoral process and puts the will of the people at risk. We call upon COMELEC to immediately rescind this Memorandum of Agreement (MOA),” the document also stressed.

In the same manifesto, the group also called for the candidates to refrain from mudslinging and all forms of negative campaigning.

“WHEREAS, WE CALL upon all contending candidates to present clearly their platforms of government and to do away from negative campaigning, as well as, condemn and condone cheating in the coming election.

They likewise lambasted some groups and politicians who were working in cahoots with some terror groups like the CPP-NPA that endangers the lives and well-being of the people.

“WHEREAS, WE REJECT the collusion of some candidates with the CPP/NPA/NDF with its partylist organizations inasmuch as such alliance with the terrorist organization is reckless and dangerous,” the group said.

The retired military, police and government officials said such alliance advocates lawlessness, destruction and death and is a threat to national security; and disregards peace and order, which endangers the lives and well- being of the Filipino people.

They then call upon the Comelec and Smartmatic to ensure the conduct of a credible and honest election this May 2022 so that the true will of the people will prevail and be protected.