By Jennifer P. Rendon
With almost two weeks to go before election day, gun ban violators in Western Visayas have breached the 100-mark.
As of 6 a.m. of Oct. 17, Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 records showed that 103 persons were arrested for transgressing the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban rule.
Some of the recent arrests were through checkpoints or firearm raids.
Others were caught with a firearm or deadly weapon incidental to their arrest or during police operations, like during anti-illegal drug buy busts.
PRO-6 records showed that most violators are civilians at 97.
Three violators are security guards while another three are lumped under the category of other law enforcement agencies (OLEA).
One OLEA violator is a member of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) who was arrested in Iloilo City while the other one is a provincial guard from Aklan province and another is a policeman.
The region’s two biggest provinces accounted for the majority of arrests.
The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Police Office (NOCPPO) arrested 27 while the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) logged 20; Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) with 15; Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) with 14; Aklan PPO with 11; Capiz PPO with nine; Guimaras PPO with four; Antique PPO with two; and Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RFMB) 6 with one.
A total of 75 firearms and 46 deadly weapons were confiscated.
Among others, they were or will be charged for violation of Comelec Resolution No. 10918, which prohibits the bearing, carrying, or transporting firearms and other deadly weapons outside residence or place of business, and in all public places; employing, availing, or engaging the services of security personnel and bodyguards; and transporting or delivering firearms and explosives, including its parts, ammunition, and/ or components.
Atty. Dennis Ausan, Comelec-6 regional director, has earlier said that possession of knives constitutes a violation of the gun ban.
But those who use knives for their livelihood such as butchers or mananggiti or coconut sap harvesters are excluded from the prohibition.
Ausan said the rule will also be imposed on those bearing explosives; and replica guns, air guns, airsoft guns, and antique firearms.
He also clarified that replicas of air guns and airsoft guns are excluded.
Ausan stressed that the said prohibition is considered an election offense punishable with imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years without probation, permanent disqualification to hold public office, and deprivation of the right of suffrage.