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Comelec mulls gun ban exemption for judges

April 15, 2010 10:14pm

Over 2,000 judges may be exempted from the nationwide gun ban depending on the decision by the Commission of Elections (Comelec) on a Supreme Court request.

Interviewed by reporters Thursday, Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said they are now taking into consideration the recent attacks on two judges in studying the high court’s request for gun ban exemption for judges.

“With this development, I’m sure the Comelec will re-visit the total gun ban especially for judges facing death threats," Sarmiento said.

The Supreme Court renewed its request for gun ban exemption for judges after Judge Silvino Pampilo Jr. of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 26 and Judge Leo Principe of the Basilan Regional Trial Court Branch 1 were targeted by separate bomb attacks.

Sarmiento said they have received similar requests from local judges. He said he agrees that judges need to protect themselves especially after the elections, when there are bound to be lots of electoral protests.

The poll body official, however, admitted that it would not be easy to exempt judges from the nationwide gun ban, which started last January 10 and will last until June 9, 2010.

Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, who heads the Comelec’s Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel, explained that the poll body would need to amend Resolution 1814 that bans candidates and private individuals from carrying firearms and hiring bodyguards during the election period.

“We have to amend the resolution... I will bring this matter to the en banc," he told GMANews.TV in a separate interview.

Exempted from the ban are members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and other law enforcement agencies who are on duty.

The Comelec, however, 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 (NBI).

Security details who are not wearing the authorized uniform are not allowed to carry firearms. - KBK, GMANews.TV
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