CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña questioned the imposition by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of a total gun ban during the election period, or from Jan. 10 to June 9. He vowed to defy the order and asked his fellow mayors to raise this matter before the court.

For a long time now, Comelec has imposed a total gun ban during an election period. This is to avoid proliferation of firearms, licensed or not, that might be used by warring political factions, leading to political violence.

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Comelec Resolution 8714 states: “During the election period, no person shall bear 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.”

Assignments of military and police personnel as bodyguards of politicians are also recalled. But there are exemptions, although one has to apply first before the Commission's committee on the ban of firearms and security personnel.

But Tomas sees this differently. His question: How can the Department of Interior and Local Government supersede the Constitution?

But what provision of the Constitution is the mayor talking about? He clarified, however, that under the Local Government Code (LGC) he is authorized to carry a gun. I suggest to the mayor that before he opens his mouth regarding legal matters, he should consult his lawyer-councilors first.

He cited Section 455 of the LGC that states that “the mayor is entitled to carry firearms within his territorial jurisdiction.” I would remind Osmeña that during elections, the poll body is the most powerful agency in government. He should also read Article 9 of the Constitution. The functions of all Constitutional Commissions, including the Comelec, are outlined there.

One section states: “The Comelec, with the concurrence of the President, can deputize law enforcement agencies and instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces, for the exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible elections.”

What does Tommy think of himself? Is he above the law? Well, if he doesn’t want to follow Comelec rules and regulations, he can start campaigning now even if it is not yet campaign period.

(bgnalzaro@gmanetwork.com)