MANILA, Philippines – Five persons were arrested on the first day of the implementation of the election gun ban on January 9, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported.
In a statement, the PNP said two were nabbed at checkpoints in Metro Manila and three in Zamboanga Sibugay.
Zamboanga Peninsula Police Regional Office identified the apprehended individuals as Wendell Datoy, and Earon Jay Mascara, and his 17-year old companion.
Police said Datoy was arrested after he failed to show any authorization when he was found carrying a caliber .45 pistol during an inspection at a checkpoint along Barangay Poblacion in Zamboanga Sibugay around 12:50 a.m.
Mascara and his companion, who were in possession of a replica model 1911, were nabbed after they were intercepted by police in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Kabasalan in Zamboanga Sibugay around 4:15 a.m.
In Metro Manila, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief, Police Major General Vicente Danao Jr. identified the two arrested individuals as Jerwin Gubaton and John Paul Dunlao.
Gubaton was initially intercepted at a checkpoint along C4 road, Brgy. Bagumbayan North, Navotas City for not wearing a face mask but when he alighted from his tricycle, a caliber .38 tucked under his waistband fell to the ground.
“Gubaton was promptly arrested and booked for violation of Republic Act 10591 and the Omnibus Election Code,” police said.
Dunlao was initially stopped at a separate checkpoint along Rotonda, Amparo Subdivision, Brgy. 179, Caloocan City for not wearing a helmet, but police found a caliber .38 with four live ammunition in his possession as he was reaching for the motorcycle papers from his belt bag.
“These early results of our strict implementation of COMELEC Resolution No. 10728 more or less describe the overall aggressiveness of police operations against violators of election law,” PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos said.
The gun ban took effect on January 9, which marks the start of the period for the May 2022 national and local elections. The election period will last until June 8.
Carlos reminded the public that during the nationwide gun ban, the permit to carry firearms outside of residence for civilians is suspended.
Law enforcers, including police officers, are exempted from the ban “as long as they bring their issued firearms while in uniform and in the performance of official duty.”
“It should be understood that only on-duty police personnel, clearly identified as members of the PNP are allowed to carry their firearms,” Carlos said.
“Any citizen may report to the PNP any police personnel abusing or violating this rule. We want to maintain discipline among our personnel,” he added.
Carlos also reminded police personnel that COMELEC checkpoints are limited to visual search only.
“But if the need arises, especially under conditions authorized by law, the police may conduct further inspection,” Carlos said.
“Any person with firearms will be courteously asked to show a copy of a valid Certificate of Authority that exempts him/her from the gun ban. If none, then the individual can be a candidate for violating the COMELEC Rules,” he added.
Persons violating the gun ban may be charged with illegal possession of firearms, in accordance with Comelec Resolution 10741 that mandates the establishment of checkpoints and prohibition of bearing, carrying, and transporting firearms or other deadly weapons.