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Eleksyon 2013

Comelec mulls revising gun ban rules regarding exemptions

January 8, 2013 3:38pm

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be revising its resolution on gun ban for the 2013 elections due to the deluge of requests seeking exemptions.

"Nire-revise namin totally ngayon, kasi hindi maliwanag, ang daming sumusulat [for an exemption]... Titingnan namin kung kailangang i-revise," said Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. in an interview Tuesday.

Brillantes said they have received over a thousand requests to be exempted from the gun ban, which will start during the onset of the election period on January 13. He could not elaborate on the revisions yet since they were still being discussed by the commissioners as of press time.

Brillantes, however, said if he has his way, Comelec would not grant any exemptions from the gun ban. "Ang sinasabi ko nga, ako ayaw ko nga magbigay ng exemption. Maski businessman. Lahat ng tao 'ata businessman," he said in jest.

Resolution No. 9561

The gun ban resolution, annexed as Resolution No. 9561, states that “[N]o person shall bear, carry, or transport firearms or other deadly weapons in public places," and that “no candidate for public office, including incumbent public officers seeking election to any public office, shall employ, avail himself of, or engage the services of security personnel or bodyguards."

It said that operatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are allowed to carry firearms during the election period.
Among the government agencies that were exempted from the gun ban for the 2013 elections but not in 2010 polls were the Bureau of Corrections, Bureau of Treasury, Department of Interior and Local Government, Office of the Vice President, Department of National Defense, among others.
Also added were justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeal; and judges of the Regional Trial Courts and Municipal/Metropolitan/Circuit trial courts.
The usual ones allowed to carry firearms both for the 2010 and 2013 elections are the members of the PNP and AFP, security personnel of foreign diplomatic corps, International Security Operations Group of the Witness Protection Program under the Department of Justice, security escorts of members of the House of Representatives and Senate who are not re-lectionists, election officers, lawyers and directors of the Comelec, personnel of the National Bureau of Investigation, among others.
The resolution added that those who may avail bodyguards are the President, Vice President, senators who are not re-electionists, justices, judges, cabinet secretaries, chairman and commissioners of the Comelec, chief of staff of the AFP and AFP Major Service Commanders, and director generals and senior officers of the PNP.


Asked if President Benigno Aquino III, a gun enthusiast, will be exempted automatically, Brillantes said they only grant exemptions to the security personnel and not the government official.

"Ang binigay namin na exemption is more on the security rather than the person himself, which means kung Senate President, hindi namin binibigyan ang Senate President, binibigyan namin ang security nila," said Brillantes, who was Aquino's election lawyer before being appointed to the Comelec.

The Comelec has received renewed calls for a total gun ban following incidents of gun-related violence at the start of the year.

Seven-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella was hit by a stray bullet during the New Year revelry, resulting in her death two days later. Less than a week after her death, seven people, including two children, were killed when a gunman went on a shooting rampage in Kawit, Cavite.

Last Sunday, 13 people, including lawmen and an environmentalist, were killed in what police said was a shootout at a checkpoint in Quezon province.

Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento earlier said the incidents may only be isolated ones and may not merit a total gun ban, which is being proposed by several groups following the violent gun-related incidents.

“While there are those asking for exemptions, there are also those calling for total gun ban. So we have to balance these two calls. These have to be consistent with national interest,” he said. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/KBK, GMA News
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