Civilians top gun ban violators - PNP

CIVILIANS have emerged as the top gun ban offenders with Philippine National Police agents apprehending more than 2,000 or over 90 percent of the offenders since the strict implementation of the nationwide prohibition on the unauthorized carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons last January 13.

As of yesterday, there were already more than 3,200 gun ban-related arrests across the country even as the PNP chief ordered a much stricter gun check ahead of the May 13 national and local elections to stem the possibility that weapons could be used to disrupt the holding of an orderly polls, said PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac.

Banac said the strict enforcement of the gun ban has also resulted in the confiscation of over 2,600  firearms, more than 23,000 other deadly weapons which including firearms replica, bladed weapons, grenades and other explosives and various live ammunition.

In Metro Manila alone, National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said his men have arrested more than 30 gun ban violators, shot and killed seven armed suspects who ignored officers manning checkpoints and seized over 20 illegal guns, and 75 other deadly weapons since the start of the ban. “We have effectively prevented the possibility that these weapons could be used to commit violence in the streets of the metropolis,” said the NCRPO chief.

Banac said they expect the number of arrests and seizures to further increase nationwide in the next few weeks as Director General Oscar D. Albayalde has ordered all 17 police regional offices to strictly enforce the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections.

Earlier, the Commission on Elections saw full logic on a letter-explanation Gen. Albayalde as it amended the rules and regulations when it comes to members of the police force who need to carry firearms while conducting undercover missions in civilian clothes during the duration of the nationwide gun ban which will last until this coming June 12.

Gen. Albayalde wrote a letter to the Comelec explaining the need for police officers and men assigned in special PNP units like the different PNP Regional, Provincial, City and Municipal Drug Enforcement Units, Intelligence Divisions and Warrant Sections to carry firearms while in covert missions which requires them to wear civilian clothes.

In its Resolution No. 10496 issued last February 13, the Comelec en banc declared that regular members and agents of different law enforcement agencies who are actually performing law enforcement or security functions may be authorized to bear, carry or transport firearms or other deadly weapons during the election period under similar conditions as stated in Resolution No. 10446.