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PNoy files personal exemption from gun ban — Comelec exec


President Benigno Aquino III has applied for a personal exemption from the gun ban during the election period, a Commission on Elections official said Thursday. Commissioner Elias Yusoph, head of the poll body's gun ban committee, confirmed in a phone interview that Aquino, a known gun enthusiast, filed his application Thursday morning. "Just this morning, I received his application for gun ban exemption," Yusoph told GMA News Online. "I do not know his reasons but we just received his application."  Yusoph said Aquino's application indicated he wants the exemption for his revolver used in practical shooting.  The gun ban begins on Sunday, which also signals the start of the election period. The election period ends June 12. 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." The Comelec only allows security personnel to carry two fire arms - one short and one long or two short guns. Yusoph said they will deliberate in the en banc if Aquino will be granted the exemption.  He said Aquino may not need an exemption from the gun ban since he is secured by the Presidential Security Group.  "As I said, he has the PSG and he is the president. He does not need to have a personal exemption. He has the PSG and he has his bodyguards," Yusoph said.  PNoy nixes total gun ban Only last Wednesday, Aquino shot down proposals to impose a total gun ban in the country and instead, called for stricter implementation of gun laws.
“It sounds nice, total gun ban, but the total does not happen because the outlaw will not. So we will not stop in our pursuit to [apprehend] these people who are outside of the law and get them before the bars of justice,“ Aquino said.
 
Meanwhile, Commissioner Lucenito Tagle noted that the Comelec only allows security personnel to carry the guns and not the government officials themselves.  Comelec chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. earlier said they only grant exemptions to security personnel. "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 resolution added that those who may avail of 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 Armed Forces of the Philippines and AFP Major Service Commanders, and director generals and senior officers of the Philippine National Police.  It also said that operatives of the PNP and 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 the 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 Appeals; and judges of the Regional Trial Courts and Municipal/Metropolitan/Circuit trial courts.   Those usually 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. — RSJ/KG, GMA News