Gun ban ‘violators’ swell to 77

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Violators of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban were recorded at 77, as of Oct .5.

The number is a steep increase given that on Sept. 26, arrested gun ban violators were at 56 only.

Major Mary Grace Borio, Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 spokesperson, noted that recent violators were not arrested through checkpoints or firearm raids.

“They yielded a firearm or deadly weapon incidental to their arrest or during police operations, like during anti-illegal drug buy-busts,” she said.

PRO-6 records showed that most violators are civilians at 72.

Three violators are security guards while another two are lumped under the category of other law enforcement agency (OLEA). It was gathered that 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.

Still, the region’s two biggest provinces accounted for the majority of arrests.

The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Police Office (NOCPPO) arrested 23 while the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) logged 17; Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) with 11; Capiz PPO, Aklan PPO and Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) with seven each; Guimaras PPO with three; and Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RFMB) 6 and Antique PPO with one each.

The offenders 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.

With a good number of violators caught in possession of deadly weapons, Atty. Dennis Ausan, Comelec-6 regional director, reiterated 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.