PNP to strictly implement Comelec guidelines in 2019 polls

January 06, 2019

ACTING on orders of Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde, the 190,000-strong police force will strictly implement all guidelines imposed by the Commission on Elections to ensure the holding of a safe, orderly and fair May 13, 2019  national and local elections, the Journal Group was told.

First and foremost is the ban on bearing, carrying or transporting of firearms or other deadly weapons and the employment, availment or engagement of the services of security personnel or bodyguards during the polling period which will start this January 13 and end on June 12.

Section 261 (q) of the Omnibus Election Code under Batas Pambansa 881 as amended prohibits the carrying of firearms outside residence or place of business without any Comelec exemption during the election period.

It is against the law for any person, who  although possessing a Permit-to-Carry-Firearms-Outside-of-Residence or place of business or PTCFOR to carry such firearm unless authorized in writing by the commission.

It also says a motor vehicle, water or air craft shall not be considered a residence or place of business or extension hereof.

The prohibition however shall not apply to cashiers and disbursing officers while in the performance of their duties or to persons who by nature of their official duties, profession, business or occupation habitually carry large sums of money or valuables.

Section 32 of Republic Act No. 7166 provides that during the election period, no person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or other deadly weapons in public places, including any building, street, park, private vehicle or public conveyance, even if licensed to possess or carry the same, unless authorized in writing by the commission. The law says the issuance of firearms license shall be suspended during the election period.

As provided by law, “only regular members of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other law enforcement agencies of the government who are duly deputized in writing by the commission for election duty may be authorized to carry and possess firearms during the election period; provided, That, when in the possession of firearms, the deputized law enforcement officer must be: (a) in full uniform showing clearly and legibly his name, rank and serial number, which shall remain visible at all times, and (b) in the actual performance of his election duty in the specific area designated by the commission.”

For the information of the public, the Comelec has defined terms used in approving its Resolution No. 10446.  As used in the Resolution: ‘Accessories’ refer to parts of a firearm which may enhance or increase the operational efficiency or accuracy of a firearm but will not constitute any of the major or minor internal parts thereof such as, but not limited to, laser scope, telescopic sight and sound suppressor or silencer.

On the other hand, ‘Ammunition’ refers to the material fired, scattered, dropped, or detonated from any weapon, as bombs or rockets, and especially shot, shrapnel, bullets, or shells fired by guns, including the components thereof referring to the means of igniting or exploding such material, as primers, fuses, and gunpowder, and as defined under Republic Act No. 10591, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Firearm and Ammunition Regulation Act (R.A. No. 10591)”, as a complete unfixed/unfired unit consisting of a bullet, gunpowder, cartridge case and primer or loaded shell for use in any firearm. Explosive refers to an exploding substance or agent, including the components and raw materials thereof, as defined under pertinent laws.

‘Firearm’ as defined in R. A. No. 10591, refers to any handheld or portable weapon, whether a small arm or light weapon, that expels or is designed to expel a bullet, shot, slug, missile or any projectile, which is discharged by means of expansive force of gases from burning gunpowder or other form of combustion or any similar instrument or implement, wherein the barrel, frame or receiver is considered a firearm.

The term shall include air guns, airsoft guns, and replicas/imitations of firearms in whatever form that can cause an ordinary person to believe that they are real, including the parts thereof, as defined under pertinent laws.