THE number of violators of the nationwide gun ban arrested by agents of the Philippine National Police since last January 13 has already risen to more than 1,400 yesterday even as PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde ordered his men to strictly enforce the prohibition on the unauthorized carrying of firearms during the election period without fear or favor.
The PNP chief has ordered all his 17 regional directors to fully implement the set of rules imposed by the Commission on Elections specifically on prescribed limits of campaign activities and other illegal acts defined under the Omnibus Election Code.
“Let me reiterate the PNP’s strict adherence to all related Comelec Resolutions covering the ban on carrying of firearms and employment of bodyguards. Everyone is reminded of the Alunan Doctrine that allows only two security personnel under extreme cases, subject to background investigation and approval by Comelec,” Gen. Albayalde said.
Persons arrested for violating the gun ban especially law enforcers face penalties of not less than one year to six years imprisonment, dishonorable discharge from the service and forfeiture of all retirement privileges and benefits.
Government employees will also be disqualified from holding any public office once caught for violating the ban which will end on June 12.
Gen. Albayalde likewise pointed out that aside from the mandated responsibilities of the PNP as a deputized agency of the Comelec, police law enforcement and public safety duties for election security operations is contained in the following 8-point SIDEPLAN which means: Strict implementation of gun ban; Intensified focus law enforcement operations; Dismantling of private armed groups; Early preparation of security and contingency plans; Provide security to vulnerable candidates; Limited reshuffle of PNP personnel; Accounting of loose firearms; and Neutralization of guns-for-hire and criminal gangs.
In Metro Manila, National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said his men have arrested 21 gun ban violators during checkpoints and shot dead five others in armed encounters shortly after they tried to evade the checkpoints and eventually traded shots with the police.
Eleazar said that 11 firearms and one gun replica were also recovered from arrested gun ban violators during the period.
PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac earlier assured the citizenry they have sufficient number of policemen to monitor the situation in 701 so-called election “hot spots” and assured of fair, peaceful and orderly May 13 polls. He said the PNP will be getting adequate support from the Armed Forces in ensuring a peaceful mid-term polls.