Gun ban, with many exemptions, starts 01-13-13

Posted at 11/26/12 3:25 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will implement its firearms and security ban for the May 2013 elections starting January 13, 2013-—with many exemptions.

Promulgated on November 23, 2012, Resolution 9561 cited pertinent provisions of the Omnibus Election Code as well as Section 32 and 33 of Republic Act 7166 in banning the carrying of firearms and the employment of security personnel by candidates.

It says that the transport of firearms and its spare parts and explosives and or its components by those engaged in the manufacture, importation, exportation, purchase, sale of firearms and its spare parts is allowed with written consent from the Committee on the Ban of Firearms and Security Personnel (CBFSP), and that it should be directly brought to the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the owner's storage facility.

It also said that the CBFSP will have operational control and supervision over the Regional Joint Security Control Center (RJSCC) and the Provincial Joint Security Control center (PJSCC).

The RJSCC’s shall be responsible for the issuance of temporary security details and implementation of the gun ban. It shall be composed of the regional election director as chair and the PNP regional director as well as the division and brigade commander as designated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The PJSCC shall be responsible for the reception and evaluation of applications, issuance of temporary security details and implementation of the gun ban. It shall be headed by the provincial election supervisor as chair, the provincial director of the PNP and the battalion commander of the AFP.

The resolution also mandates that, except for the renewal of existing licenses, the PNP will  suspend the issuance of firearms licenses  during the election period, unless both the license and firearm shall not be released to the owner and the license and firearm shall be kept with the PNP.

The following are exempted from coverage of the firearms ban:

  • personnel of the AFP, PNP, NBI, bureaus of Corrections and Jail Management and Penology;
  • Customs, Port Police department, Philippine Economic Zone Authority police;
  • government guards under the PNP, Bureau of Immigration, airport police, Land Transportation Office, Coast Guard, Witness Protection Program of the justice department, Optical Media Board, Bangko Sentral, House and Senate security personnel;
  • inspection service of the Philippine Postal Corporation, Comelec, National Police Commission;
  • law enforcement officers of the DENR;
  • security unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Philippine Center for Transnational Crime, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency; 
  • CAFGUs;
  • the Presidential Security Group; 
  • security personnel of the treasury bureau, the Office of the Vice President, the offices of the  secretaries of interior and local government and defense, and the prosecutors of the justice department.

However, the personnel must be regular employees of the agencies, wearing the prescribed uniform, authorized to carry the firearm and in the performance of their duties.

Members of privately-owned and -operated security groups must be in the prescribed uniform, in possession of a valid license to exercise security profession with duty detail order, deployed by PNP licensed security agencies and private detective agencies and in the performance of duties.

Furthermore, justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeals and judges of lower courts, as well as security personnel of accredited foreign diplomatic corps are also exempted.

Effective December 3, 2012, the CBFSP has the sole power to issue the authority to bear, carry, transport firearms including its spare parts, explosives and its components outside residence and place of business in the country.

Any PTCFOR, mission order, letter order and acknowledgment receipts issued by the PNP chief prior to or processed  during the election period are suspended unless properly covered by certificates issued by the CBFSP.

By January 13, 2012, all existing authority granting security personnel or bodyguards are revoked unless they come from the regular security of the president, vice president, sentaors not running for re-election, justices, judges, Cabinet mebers, Comelec members, PNP and AFP high-ranking  officers.

Those who need security personnel may get a maximum of 2 security personnel if circumstances warrant subject to the following conditions:

  • candidates for senator may be assigned security from the AFP, PNP, NBI and as augmentation, duly licensed protective agents of the private detective agencies or accredited private security agencies, provided it does not exceed the allowable number of the PNP.
  • candidates for local elective positions may, upon application, be authorized to employ the services of no more than 2 security personnel.

Security personnel are allowed to carry 2 firearms, one long and short, or 2 short.

Uniformed personnel may carry pistols, revolvers, SMGs, high-powered rifles while protective agents may have a pistol and a shotgun.

Any violation shall merit imprisonment of no less than 1-year imprisonment but not more than 6 years.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the “most important is the exemption provision. Yun lang naman, everybody wants to be exempted. January 13, 2013 start of election period 120 days. Campaign [period] is 90 for national [posts] 45 for local posts."

"Huwag niyo i-confuse ang election period as against campaign period. Mas maraming exemptions [ang campaign period]. (Kailangan may) factual finding sa threat sa buhay.”