A PART-TIME teacher in a state university was arrested after he allegedly tried to get his firearm blessed during a mass in Barangay Poblacion, Carmen yesterday morning.
Geofre Radoc, 51, was arrested on the first day of the election gun ban.
PO3 Jerome Quimne said the police received the alarm at 6:15 a.m. Radoc denied owning the gun and told investigators he was just told by a friend to have it blessed with holy water.
A police investigation showed that the suspect brought a .9mm pistol to the St. Augustine de Hippo church.
But Jesus Cosan, a retired police officer who witnessed the incident, told investigators that the teacher appeared drunk when he placed the gun on the podium.
And then Radoc, who hails from Siaton town, Negros, tried to receive a communion wafer from Benedict Into, a seminarian.
Quimne said that Radoc will face a complaint for violating the election gun ban and illegal possession of firearms.
A jail term of one to six years awaits a violator who is proven guilty in court.
Officers from the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 started their random checkpoints at 12:01 a.m. yesterday.
The ban, which will end on June 8, 2016, prohibits any person from carrying or transporting firearms or deadly weapons like bullets, knives, air guns and explosives outside of their residence, places of business, and in all public places, unless authorized in writing by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Also suspended during this period are the issuances of firearms licenses, permits to carry guns outside residences, mission orders, letter orders, and acknowledgement receipts.
The Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation are exempted from the gun ban, but the two agencies need to submit the names of their personnel, where they are assigned, and the serial numbers of their firearms.
Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano said in an earlier report that security agencies must apply directly with the Comelec Committee on Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel for an exemption for their security guards.
Once exempted, security guards are allowed to carry firearms only in their place of assignment.
Castillano, in an interview, also said that even those with licenses to own or carry guns are not allowed to bring these outside their homes during the election period.
Cashiers and disbursing officers who carry large sums of money or valuables may also apply for exemptions.
According to Comelec Resolution 10015, other persons who are allowed to bear firearms or deadly weapons during the election period are the president, vice president, senators, members of the House of Representatives and Cabinet secretaries.
The Regional Joint Security Control Center, which is composed of Comelec, Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 and the AFP, will meet today to get updates from law enforcement agencies on their security preparations for the elections.