Nine nabbed for gun ban breach in five days

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Nine persons were arrested for violating the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban in a span of five days in Western Visayas.

Although the gun ban started on August 28, the first arrest in the region happened on August 30 in City Proper district in Iloilo City. The latest was September 3 in Bacolod City.

Records from the Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 indicated that the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) made four arrests while the Iloilo City Police Office (BCPO) has two so far.

The other arrests were made by the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RFMB) 6, the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Police Office (NOCPPO), and the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO).

Major Mary Grace Borio, PRO-6 spokesperson, said all arrested persons were civilians.

Seven firearms and two deadly weapons, particularly knives, were seized from the alleged violators.

The arrested persons are facing charges 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 repeatedly stressed that possession of knives constitutes a violation of the gun ban.

“By other deadly weapons, these include knives,” he said.

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.

But he 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.