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PNP chief to cops: Enforce election gun ban

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa ordered policemen nationwide to enforce the gun ban in preparation for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled on Oct. 23, until President Duterte signs the law to postpone the polls. AP/File

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa ordered policemen nationwide to enforce the gun ban in preparation for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections scheduled on Oct. 23, until President Duterte signs the law to postpone the polls.

Dela Rosa said the PNP is mandated to implement the Omnibus Election Code, which includes the gun ban.

Under the ban, all permits to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFOR) are suspended and no one is allowed to bring guns outside residence unless they secure exemptions from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The PNP chief instructed Directorate for Operations chief Director Camillo Cascolan to draft a memorandum of understanding with the Comelec to ensure policemen in complete uniform and on duty are exempted from the gun ban.

Since Duterte has not yet signed the law to postpone the barangay and SK polls, the Comelec already completed the printing of all official ballots.

“The 59.5 million ballots for Luzon and the VIsayas have been printed. (We have) no information on signing,” said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista.

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The ballots for Mindanao were not printed as the poll body decided to cancel the elections there due to martial law imposed in the region.

Bautista said the commission will discuss in a meeting today when they would start deploying the ballots to their intended destinations, pending the signing of the bill into law. 

The poll chief gave assurance that they are closely monitioring developments of the bill so they could properly plan their next action.

Data of the Comelec Printing Committee shows that as of Sept. 30, all of the 43,741,986 ballots for the barangay and 15,836,360 ballots for SK have been printed. 

According to Comelec spokesman James Jimenez, the polls will be conducted on Oct. 23 as scheduled if the bill will not be signed by Duterte.

“Unless the postponement is official, elections will push through,” Jimenez posted in his Twitter account.

Last Oct. 1, the Comelec placed the entire country under a month-long election period during which a nationwide gun ban is enforced.

Meanwhile, police have so far arrested five violators of the Comelec gun ban. 

Three suspects were arrested in Baliuag, Bulacan; one was nabbed in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan on Sunday and another violator was arrested yesterday in Bacolod City.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. identified the arrested suspects as Edwin Pica, Danila Alcoriza and Rosauro Yambao in separate incidents in Malolos City.

Police recovered from the suspects an Armscor .40 caliber pistol and two .45 caliber pistols.

Tuguegarao City police chief Supt. Edward Guzman said policemen responding to a quarrel inside a local restaurant nabbed Dexter Bargado, 30, a law student, last Sunday. 

A .45 caliber pistol was seized from the suspect by responding policemen.

A robbery suspect was arrested yesterday for violating the gun ban in Bacolod City.

Chief Insp. Benedicto Villarias, Bacolod police station 2 commander, identified the arrested suspect as Alex Barredo who yielded a .38 caliber revolver.

Villarias said Barredo, 24, is also a suspect in several robberies in Davao City. – With Sheila Crisostomo, Ramon Efren Lazaro, Gilbert Bayoran, Raymund Catindig

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