Gun ban offenders now over 2K

A TOTAL of 2,473 gun ban offenders have been arrested by policemen manning checkpoints across the country to enforce the nationwide prohibition on the unauthorized carrying of firearms and other deadly weapons since last January 12, Philippine National Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac said yesterday.

Banac said they expect the number to further increase as PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde has ordered the stepped-up enforcement of the gun ban to arrest the flow of illegal weapons that could be used to disrupt secure and fair May 13 national and local elections.

The gun ban will end on June 13.

According to Banac, the offenders were arrested as a result of nearly 278,000 police operations conducted from January 13 up to last Thursday.

He said that of the total number of persons arrested, 211 were nabbed through checkpoints, 474 through search warrants, 27 through warrants of arrest, 1,355 through police patrol response and 406 through police operation plans.

Banac said that the arrested gun ban offenders included 2,329 civilians, 24 policemen, 3 members of the Armed Forces, 39 elected officials, 6 other members of different law enforcement agencies, 2 personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, 45 security guards, 2 members of the Civilian Active Auxiliary, 1 foreign national, 20 members of armed threat groups and 2 members of private armed groups.

The PNP spokesperson said that during the period, police also seized a total of 2,039 firearms which are now under the safekeeping of the arresting units. Also confiscated as a result of the strict gun ban enforcement were 16,379 other deadly weapons which include 76 firearms replica, 819 bladed weapons, 127 grenades and other explosives and 412 various live ammunition.

Banac said that the arrested suspects are now facing charges for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.