Poll body’s national gun ban starts Sunday

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Saturday, January 12, 2013


THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has recently set in place the guidelines, which should be followed as the 2013 election gun ban starts Sunday.

The Comelec will enforce the gun ban until June 12, 2013.

Comelec regional director Julius Torres in a press conference with police officials said they have coordinated with Police Regional Office- Cordillera director Chief Superintendent Benjamin Magalong in the conduct of the Comelec checkpoints.

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Each checkpoint which has a corresponding signboard of the local election officer should be well lighted and preferably near a police precinct and with a patrol car.

Policemen manning checkpoints should also be in full uniform showing clearly and legibly showing his name, rank and serial number and that shall remain visible at all times, the Comelec director said.

He also stressed the search should only be limited to visual searches, which means that as a rule, no search within the vehicle can be conducted without a search warrant duly issued by an appropriate authority.

However, a warrantless search can be made in cases such as moving vehicles and the seizure of evidence found in plain view; as long as the vehicle is neither searched nor its occupant/s subjected to a body search, and the inspection of the vehicle is merely limited to a visual search; when the occupants of the vehicle appear to be nervous or suspicious or exhibit unnatural reaction; if the officer conducting the search has reasonable or probable cause to believe that either the occupant/s is a law offender or that the instrumentality or evidence pertaining to the commission of a crime can be found in the vehicle to be searched; and on the basis of prior confidential information.
Comelec Resolution 9561-A declares carrying firearms outside residence or place of business may constitute an election offense.

The resolution also prohibits the carrying of licensed firearms outside his residence or place of business during the election period, unless authorized in writing by the Comelec.

This prohibition, however, does not apply to cashiers and disbursing officers while in the performance of their duties or to persons who by nature of their official duties, profession, business or occupation habitually carry large sums of money or valuables.

Only 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 Comelec for election duty may be authorized to carry and possess firearms during the election period.

The deputized law enforcer, however, must be in full uniform showing clearly and legibly his name, rank and serial number, which will remain visible at all times, and in the actual performance of his election duty in the specific area designated by Comelec.

“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, whether or not such bodyguards are regular members or officers of the PNP or AFP or other law enforcement agency of the government,” the resolution added.

However, when circumstances warrant such as when an elected candidate’s life and security is threatened, PNP or AFP or other law enforcement agency by authority of Comelec may provide the candidate with security for the duration of the election period.

The officers assigned for security duty to a candidate will subject to the same requirement as to wearing of uniforms prescribed in the immediately preceding section unless exempted in writing by the Commission.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 12, 2013.

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