Gun ban starts today, expect more checkpointsPosted on
DAVAO CITY (January 13) — The nationwide gun ban takes effect today, Motorists and residents should be ready to see more checkpoints as Commission on Elections (Comelec) will put up checkpoints to enforce a strict ban on “bearing, carrying or transporting of firearms and other deadly weapons.”
The election period is from January 13 to June 12.
This, as the Philippine National Police is monitoring at least 18 election “hot spots” nationwide, given their history of violence or the presence of private armed groups.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said poll officials will conduct inspections of checkpoints, together with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which started last night.
Jimenez in a press statement said, the Comelec and other law enforcement agencies establish checkpoints to ensure that the gun ban is strictly implemented.
Checkpoints according to Jimenez, should be placed in well-lit areas, manned by policemen in uniform, and include names and contact information of the police and election officers in charge.
Jimenez, meanwhile, advised motorists on how to spot a legitimate checkpoint.
“Election period means motorist will start seeing that checkpoints are already on the streets. But remember (that) the checkpoints have to be situated in well-lit areas. They have to be clearly marked with a big checkpoint sign, which says Comelec checkpoint. The sign must contain the name and contact information of the election officer who is in charge of the area. It must also contain the name and contact information of the police officer who is in charge of the checkpoint,” he emphasized.
Motorists are “under no obligation” to open car windows or compartments, he said, noting that policemen were bound by the “plain-view doctrine.”
Government authorities, according to Jimenez “They can look but they should not touch.”
Jimenez said the ban would cover other deadly weapons, including sickles and bolos often used as farming tools, if carried outside of work.
The Comelec grants exemptions, particularly to government officials, and individuals whose lives are in danger as determined by the police or the military, he said.
Candidates are also barred from using security personnel or bodyguards, unless allowed by the Comelec.
Candidates were reminded that the campaign period would not start until Feb. 12 for senatorial aspirants, and March 30 for those running for local posts.
Days before the campaign period, the Comelec will issue notices to candidates to take down campaign posters “regardless of the size and location,” Jimenez said.
The Comelec released guidelines on the prohibited acts during the six-month election period:
-Transfer or movement of officers and employees in the civil service;
-Bearing, carrying or transporting firearms or other deadly weapons, unless authorized in writing by the Commission;
-Use of security personnel or bodyguards by candidates, unless authorized in writing by the Commission.
The campaign period for senators and party-list groups will start on February 12.
For those who will run for local positions, the campaign period will begin on March 29. –Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph