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Comelec exec: No gun ban exemptions for off-duty police officers

Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) who are not on duty are not exempted from the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during the election period, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said Tuesday.

Guanzon was referring to Comelec Resolution 10446 which states that “no person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or other deadly weapons in public places, including any building, street, park, private vehicle or public conveyance, even if licensed to possess or carry the same, unless authorized in writing by the Comelec.”

Likewise, the same Comelec Resolution provides that the issuance of firearms license will be suspended during the election period that will run from January 13, 2019 to June 12.

“Itong gun ban, isang issue na hindi masyadong naha-highlight. Pati mga pulis, kasama kayo sa gun ban. Pag off-duty kayo, hindi kayo puwedeng magdala ng baril kung wala kayong exemption na galing sa Comelec,” Guanzon said in an interview on GMA News TV's Balitanghali.

“Sa araw ng eleksyon, bawal kayo (mga pulis) sa mga presinto kung may dala kayong baril na hindi naka-unfiorm at hindi naka-detail roon. Kaya nananawagan ako sa mga chief of police na ipaalam ito at disiplinahin ang kanilang mga tauhan. Kasi ang mga pulis gusto lagi magdala ng sariling baril,” Guanzon added.

The same Comelec Resolution allows regular members of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcement agencies  who are duly deputized in writing by the Commission for election duty to carry and possess firearms during the election period under the following conditions:

  • the deputized law enforcement officer must be in full uniform showing clearly and legibly his name, rank and serial number which shall remain visible at all times; and
  • in the actual performance of his election duty in the specific area designated by the Comelec.

Others who are exempted from the gun ban during election period include:

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • Senators
  • Members of the House of Representatives
  • Cabinet Secretaries
  • Chief Justice and justices of the Supreme Court, justices of the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals; and judges of the Regional Trial courts and Municipal/Metropolitan/Circuit Trial Courts;
  • Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsmen;
  • Chairpersons and commissioners of the Civil Service Commission and the Commission on Audit
  • Chairperson and commissioners of the Commission on Human Rights
  • Security personnel of Foreign Diplomatic Corps, Missions and Establishments under international law, including Foreign Military Personnel in the Philippines covered by existing treaties and international agreements endorsed by the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Heads of Missions of foreign countries in the Philippines, among others.

Election Day is set on May 13. — Llanesca T. Panti/RSJ, GMA News