Comelec sets election gun ban on January

Posted on November 17, 2015

THE Commission on Elections has issued the guidelines for the 2016 election gun ban from January 10 to June 8.

All firearm permits are suspended during this 150-day period, unless covered by a certificate of authority (CA) issued by the Comelec’s Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel (CBFSP).

Also under the Comelec rules, no person can bear or transport firearms, or avail himself of security services, unless authorized by the CBFSP.

Resolution No. 10015, dated Nov. 13, designates the CBFSP, to be headed by Commissioner Al A. Parreño, which will have the sole power to issue the CA, the permits to bear firearms during the gun ban period.

The same resolution also creats the Regional Joint Security Control Center (RJSCC), the Provincial Joint Security Control Center (PJSCC), and the City or Municipal Joint Security Control Center (C/MJSCC). These bodies are tasked with implementing the gun ban and compliance monitoring.

The rules detail that only the following may be authorized to bear or transport firearms: high-ranking government officials (including the President, Vice-President, legislators, Cabinet secretaries and judges), security personnel of the foreign diplomatic corps, law enforcement officers, cashiers and disbursing officers, and Comelec officials (commissioners, directors, lawyers and election officers).

The CAs allow grantees to carry a maximum of two firearms for law enforcement officers and cashiers, and one for private security service providers.

While in the possession of firearms, law enforcement and security officers have to wear identification cards or named uniforms, carry their valid authorization (a mission order or a license to exercise security profession), and be performing their actual duties.

Likewise, cashiers and disbursing officers with CAs have to be performing their duties and carrying their CAs while in the possession of firearms.

The rules also automatically revoke all existing authority granting security personnel and bodyguards. However, public officials who are not candidates may be allowed to retain their security complement.

Candidates, meanwhile, would have to secure a CA to be authorized to employ two bodyguards. Application for additional personnel is also subject to the CBFSP’s approval.

Forms are downloadable at Applications for the authority to bear or transport firearms may be submitted with the CBFSP, although cashiers or disbursing officers may be allowed to file with the PJSCC.

Likewise, applications for the CA for security detail may be filed with either the CBFSP or the PJSCC.

Druing the 2013 midterm elections, the Philippine National Police (PNP) recorded almost 3,700 arrests for violating the five-month gun ban. -- Vince Alvic Alexis F. Nonato