By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) said five persons were arrested in violation of the nationwide election gun ban that kicked off Sunday.
Of the five, two were nabbed at the National Capital Region while the three others were arrested in Zamboanga Peninsula.
“The early results of our strict implementation of Comelec (Commission on Elections) Resolution No. 10728 more or less describe the overall aggressiveness of police operations against violators of election law,” PNP chief, Gen. Dionardo Carlos said in a statement.
In a message sent to reporters, Lt. Col. Jenny Tecson, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) spokesperson, identified the suspects as Jerwin Gubaton, 39, who was arrested around 1 a.m. along C4 Road, Barangay Bagumbayan North, Navotas City; and Jhon Paul Dungao, 23, who was nabbed at around 2 a.m. along Rotonda Amparo Subdivision, Barangay 179, Caloocan City.
When the tricycle with Gubaton on board stopped at a checkpoint, he was not wearing a face mask.
A cal. 38 revolver tucked under the waistband of his trouser short pants fell when he got off the tricycle.
Motorcycle rider Dungao was stopped for not wearing a crash helmet and as he was searching for his documents inside his belt bag, police saw in plain view a cal. 38 revolver that was later on confirmed to be loaded with four live ammunition.
“We will intensify all efforts to secure the Metro by putting up a Joint PNP-Comelec-AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) checkpoints to implement weapons check and other anti-criminality and police security operations, against loose firearms, deadly weapons, unauthorized security personnel, Private Armed Groups, wanted persons, and other unlawful incidents related to the forthcoming national elections to ensure that it is peaceful and orderly,” said NCRPO chief, Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. in a statement.
In Zamboanga Peninsula, Wendell Deocariza, 39, and Earon Jay Mascara, 18 were arrested in Zamboanga Sibugay with pistols.
Mascara’s 17-year-old companion was also held.
Any person with a firearm must show a Certificate of Authority that proves exemption from the gun ban.
Without such document, the individual can be charged with violation of the Comelec Rules.
Violators face imprisonment from one to six years, permanent disqualification from public office and loss of right to vote, and deportation for foreigners after prison term is served, according to the Comelec.
Carlos reminded everyone to be responsible in ensuring that the firearms they carry are duly-licensed and covered by exemption permits.
“It should be understood that only on-duty police personnel, clearly identified as members of the PNP, are allowed to carry their firearms. Any citizen may report to the PNP any police personnel abusing or violating this rule. We want to maintain discipline among our personnel,” he said.
Although checkpoints are limited to visual searches, police may conduct further inspection if the need arises. (PNA)