WHEN the total gun ban begins on Jan. 10, all security details assigned to government officials and some individuals will be revoked on the same day.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has released the guidelines for the implementation of the total gun ban and provisions for keeping security details.
When the gun ban takes effect, all permits to carry firearms outside residences (PTCFOR) are suspended until June 9.
All authorizations for security detail will also be revoked on Jan. 10. Those affected by the revocation can reapply for a security detail with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“During the election period, the PNP is under the supervision of the Comelec. They are now deputized under Comelec,” said Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano.
Comelec’s Resolution 8714 states: “During the election period, 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 Commission. The issuance of firearms licenses shall be suspended during the election period.”
There are gun ban exemptions. But Castillano said these are only given to law enforcement agencies.
“No civilian can get the exemptions, only security guards, law enforcement agencies, PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said Castillano.
Also this month, Comelec’s election officers will undergo training on the automated process, including the use of the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines.
According to the PNP guidelines, the Regional Joint Security Control Center (R-JSCC) will be set up, to be chaired by the Comelec regional director.
The R-JSCC will accept applications for candidates for House of Representatives and local elective positions, as well as public officers and private individuals.
Those seeking positions at the national level will have to file their applications before the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel at the main office of the Comelec in Intramuros, Manila.
Security escorts detailed with local candidates who have to visit other provinces or cities are required to register with the R-JSCC.
According to the Information Operations Plan of the elections, only members of the PNP, AFP, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and protective agents of private detective agencies (PDA) can be deputized as security detail during the election period.
They should also be in proper uniform while performing official security duties.
Those running for mayor or higher positions are qualified to apply for security details who are members of the PNP or AFP, while those running for lower positions can avail themselves of the services of protective agents.
Though they can be assigned bodyguards, each candidate can have only two members of the PNP, AFP of NBI and, upon request, can add two protective agents to their security team.
But for “exceptionally meritorious circumstances”, candidates for national elective positions can request for additional security subject to conditions and restrictions set by the Comelec.
The AFP and PNP have issued a joint directive detailing the general policies and procedures in performing law enforcement operations during the election period.
Aside from the R-JSCC, provincial, city and municipal levels will also be established and will be chaired by the concerned Comelec officers.
The JSCCs are tasked to implement the nationwide firearms ban and the provisions regarding security detail during election period.
They will also put up checkpoints in strategic locations supervised by Comelec representatives to enforce the ban on firearms and unauthorized security detail.
Only members of the PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcers receiving regular compensation for services rendered are authorized to bear, carry or transport firearms or deadly weapons.
They can only do so if they are in their prescribed uniforms clearly showing their names, ranks and serial numbers.
If this does not apply to them, they must be wearing their agency-issued identification cards bearing their names and positions and should bring with them their valid mission/letter orders. They should also be in actual performance of official duties, or going to or returning from their residences or stations.
“All persons in civilian attire are presumed unauthorized to carry firearms and subject to arrest and investigation,” the memorandum sent by Police Director Ronald Roderos stated.
Roderos is the director for Police Community Relations in Camp Crame.
He assured that members of privately-owned or operated security, investigative and protective agencies that are authorized by the PNP are allowed to possess firearms but only while in uniform with valid identification cards.
Like the police and military, they are also required to display their identification cards and should be on duty in their specified areas of assignment.
Firearms issued to security guards are to be deposited in their posts when they finish their tour of duty.
To effectively implement the gun ban, PNP Chief Jesus Verzosa has directed Deputy Director General Jefferson Soriano, commander of the national task force HOPE (honest, orderly and peaceful elections) 2010, to require all AFP units and law enforcement agencies to submit to the PNP photos of their prescribed uniforms.
Verzosa explained that if a concerned agency does not comply, it is presumed that the agency waives its privilege to bear firearms while in uniform. This means they can be arrested for violation of the gun ban.
Roderos said that teams from the PNP’s Highway Patrol Group will join the Comelec-JSCC checkpoints to be on the lookout for vehicle-related violations such as unauthorized security convoys, illegal use of police blinkers and sirens and other violations of the Land Transportation Code and special laws involving motor vehicles.