SOME 33 police officers arrested for violation of the gun ban since last January 10 face dismissal from the service, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ricardo C. Marquez said yesterday.
The 33 policemen were among the 4,199 gunban offenders apprehended since the election period started four months ago.
The others include 4,018 civilians, 18 members of the Armed Forces, two members of the Bureau of Fire Protection, 35 government/elected officials, 50 security guards, three members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit, eight members of other enforcement agencies, 22 members of different threat groups and 10 members of partisan armed groups.
Marquez said that among those arrested were two members of the Gattaran, Cagayan police force who were found escorting a local candidate without any authority from the Commission on Elections. He said that he also ordered the immediate relief and investigation of the local police chief in the wake of the arrest of two of his men.
“We’re making sure on a day-to-day basis that the progress of the cases of the gunban violators will be monitored. If the decision is to dismiss the policemen who violated the ban, then they will be dismissed.
With the presidential and national elections over last Monday, the PNP chief has ordered his men to ensure the prosecution and conviction of all arrested violators of the Omnibus Election Code specifically the gun ban offenders.
Marquez directed all concerned PNP offices and units to closely monitor investigation and case build-up operations on all cases involving violation of election laws, including persons arrested for election-related violence and violation of the nationwide gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections.
The PNP leadership said all arrests to be made during the election period, at the very least, must result in successful prosecution leading to the conviction of the offender, otherwise, all their efforts will be irrelevant.
PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben M. Mayor said Gen. Marquez has called for the successful prosecution of the gun ban violators in the wake of calls for the PNP to strictly prosecute the offenders and see to that they will have a certainty of punishment, otherwise, the public will look at the entire gun ban exercise as a farce if the offenders will go unpunished.