Election gun ban violators reach more than 1,000
KIMBERLY JANE T. TAN
Election gun ban violators have reached more than a thousand, more than two months after the nationwide prohibition was put in place, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.
“We have substantial accomplishments… I think we have 1,351 persons arrested including some of us PNP personnel as well,” PNP-Deputy Director General Edgardo Acuna, PNP’s chief directorial staff, said during a consultative conference with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday.
Last month, violators of the gun ban reached 820.
Earlier, the Comelec issued Resolution 1814 which bans candidates and private individuals from carrying firearms and hiring bodyguards during the election period which will run from January 10 to June 9, 2010.
The ban was enforced to prevent and minimize violence during the election season, which in the Philippines has been characterized by violence.
“I think the total gun ban is a facility for enhancing the sense of security among the public,” said Acuna.
Exempted from the ban are members of the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and other law enforcement agencies who are on duty.
But the Comelec allows individuals with security threats to have escorts during the election period upon application and assessment.
The escorts can come from the PNP, AFP, or the National Bureau of Investigation.
However, the poll body said that a security detail who is not wearing the authorized uniform but still opts to bear, carry, or transport firearms or other deadly weapons will be considered unauthorized to carry such weapons and will be arrested.
“For now, all the law enforcement agencies have submitted to Comelec the accredited sets of uniforms, these will be recognized by our checkpoints,” said Acuna.
Violation of the gun ban is an election offense, which entails a punishment of six months to one year imprisonment. -RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV