LINGAYEN -- Friends, not even retired police and military officers, are exempt from the election gun ban, an police official said Monday.

“Stick to the Comelec (Commission on Elections) rules. No friends!” is Police Regional Office 1 (PRO1) Director Constante Azares Jr.’s strong directive to all the policemen assigned in Ilocos in relation with the election gun ban, which started last January 10.

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Azares, who visited Pangasinan Monday, led the turnover of seven patrol vehicles to the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO). He later presided the command conference held at the PDCC Conference Hall at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (PDCC).

He said nobody is above the law as far as the election gun ban and detail of security personnel to candidates is concern.

“The famous tagline of CPNP Jesus Verzosa is stick to the Comelec rules. And I will add to that this line – no friends (nobody will be exempt even your friends),” he remarked. “We are reminding our men to stick to the Comelec rules so that there will be no room for interpretation. When I say stick to Comelec rules, the provisions are very clear. If you are going to interpret it according to your own interpretation, then this is nothing. We will not be able to implement HOPE 2010 (honest, orderly and peaceful election).”

“Maraming resolutions but there are two things that should be implemented: 1) outright, restrict the movements of those law enforcers in civilian attire carrying firearms. (Because we do not know whether they are with us (PNP) or with somebody; 2) those candidates who have security details have to register (this started last January 10). The Joint Security Control Center (JSCC) takes charge on this. It is only in PRO1 where the JSCC operates 24/7,” he stated.

To retired PNP officers running for elective positions, Azares commented: “Pasensya na po tayo lahat, no friends. Stick to the Comelec rules sabi ni Chief PNP Verzosa.”

“Do not intimidate,” he warned all policemen assigned as security personnel to candidates.

“They are there to protect the candidate, they can be their errand boys and the like, but not to intimidate others,” he said.

Security guards, media practitioners, military reservists are covered with the election gun ban.

Meanwhile, the new regional police director said they are validating nine municipalities/cities in the region which are in the list of possible hotspots in the region.

Of the nine localities, six are in Pangasinan, two in La Union, and one in Ilocos Norte.