MANILA, Philippines – Barely a week before the May 13 elections, police have arrested 29 more individuals for carrying firearms over the weekend, bringing to close to 3,000 the number of persons held for violating the election gun ban.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Sunday said a total of 2,901 firearms and over 24,000 bullets were seized by various police units in checkpoints and raids since the gun ban started on Jan. 13.
“The PNP will continue carrying out security operations to ensure that the midterm elections will be safe, orderly and credible,” said PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr.
A total of 2,958 persons had been arrested for bringing guns outside their residence without the appropriate permit from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Among those arrested were 39 policemen, 20 soldiers and 128 security guards.
Cerbo said PNP personnel who violated the Comelec-imposed gun ban would face administrative and criminal charges. If found guilty, these erring policemen would be dropped from the rolls, he added.
He said security guards may also lose their licenses as private watchmen for breaking the prohibition on carrying guns during the election period.
Besides firearms, the PNP also confiscated 910 bladed weapons and some 700 grenades and other explosives.
Last week, the police deployed 30,000 additional troops to the 15 provinces which the PNP and the Comelec previously considered as election hot spots.
Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes said at least seven more provinces would be added to the list of “election areas of concern” due to intense political rivalries among local candidates and incidents of election-related violence recorded in these areas.