MANILA, MAY 16, 2007 (STAR) Malacaņang attributed the success of national and local polls Tuesday to the efforts of the Filipino people.

Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye said in a statement, "It is a credit to the Filipino people that yesterday's elections, compared to previous ones, were generally peaceful and that we had a good turnout."

"There is obviously great faith in the electoral process and that our people take their right to vote seriously," Bunye said.

He added that as everyone awaits the results of the elections, he called on Filipinos to remember that the most important contribution everyone can make now is to support those who have been democratically elected and leave the passions and divisions of the campaign behind.

"We owe it to our country and to ourselves to unite and work together," Bunye said.

GMA wants greater synergy in curbing violence

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 04:40 PM -  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered Tuesday the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to harness their investigative and legal resources to curb the series of violent incidents related to the just-concluded midterm elections and unexplained killings.

In a statement, Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo said the President directed the three law enforcement agencies to file at least 20 cases in court against suspects in election, activist or media killings.

"They shall consult with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), while utilizing technical assistance offered by the European Commission and other foreign entities," he said.

Saludo said the directive was issued amid concerns of the European Commission and United States diplomatic mission observers over the violence that marked the run-up to the May 14 polls.

Earlier, the President had already taken several steps to resolve the extrajudicial killings, including the setting up of special courts which will try these kinds of cases, the fielding of special prosecutors and instituting strict internal control in the PNP and the AFP.

She also extended the authority of the Melo Commission, an independent body (headed by former Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo) tasked to provide policy recommendations based on the result of their deeper inquiry on the real motives and suspects behind the unexplained killings.

While the nation awaits the results of the elections, Saludo assured the public that the government will continue accelerating development services and major undertakings for economic expansion, job creation, price stability, and most importantly, peace and order in the country.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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