MANILA, Philippines – They just can’t wait.
Nine more gun owners were arrested on Wednesday (June 12), the last day of the 150-day gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as part of the security plan for the May 13 elections, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Thursday.
PNP Director General Alan Purisima said police units across the archipelago arrested a total of 3,704 individuals for carrying guns outside their residence without the necessary permit from the Comelec during the gun ban period.
Among them were 23 soldiers, 52 policemen, 42 other government officials and 154 security guards.
Purisima said the creation of the PNP Task Force SAFE (Secure and Fair Elections) in November 2012 was instrumental in enforcing the election laws and harmonizing various anti-crime police operations during the election period.
“The achievement of the PNP is the success of our people,” Purisima said in an emailed statement.
“Again, I commend all our PNP personnel who performed very well before, during and after the election period as well as to our fellow public servants in the Armed Forces, Comelec, other government and non-government agencies and, most especially, to the community,” he said.
He reminded police personnel that the “best deterrent to the commission of crime is the certainty of prosecution of these arrested gun ban offenders.”
So far, Purisima said the PNP has filed a total of 2,441 criminal cases against arrested gun ban violators for violation of the Omnibus Election Code and the Marcos-era Presidential Decree 1866.
However, only 207 of these cases have been forwarded to the courts for prosecution.
With the lifting of the gun ban, the PNP chief ordered police units to continue the PNP’s intensified campaign against loose firearms “because of its proven effectiveness in preempting illegal activities and in taking away instruments of crime and violence.”
Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr., PNP spokesperson, reiterated that only gun owners who have secured “permits to carry firearms outside the residence” from the PNP are allowed to bring their firearms out of their homes.
During the gun ban period, Purisima said a total of 3,596 firearms and over 30,000 rounds of ammunition were seized in checkpoints and other police operations.
He said the police also confiscated 163 gun replicas, 1,082 bladed weapons and 758 explosive devices.