53% of applicants exempted from gun ban
MANILA, Philippines — About half of more than 4,000 applications for gun ban exemption were granted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) before Election Chair Saidamen Pangarungan was given the power to unilaterally grant exemptions.
Out of 4,027 applications submitted since the election gun ban took effect on Jan. 9, the Comelec committee on the ban on firearms and security concerns (CBFSC) approved 2,160, or 53 percent, of the applications.
This includes 256 applicants who appealed after their initial rejection.
The gun ban committee, however, denied 855, or 21 percent, of the applications.
Around 1,000 applications are still pending with the committee as of April 13, according to the records.
On April 12, Comelec Commissioner Socorro Inting resigned as chair of the CBFSC in protest of the April 6 decision of four of the seven poll commissioners to give Pangarungan the blanket authority to grant gun ban exemptions.
“I cannot in good conscience continue to remain as CBFSC chairperson when this same position has already been made inutile due to the enactment of Comelec Resolution No. 10777,” Inting wrote in a memorandum dated April 12 leaked to the press.
“In protest, I hereby irrevocably resign as CBFSC chairperson effective immediately,” she added.
Pangarungan had said he would exercise his unilateral power only in “urgent and meritorious” cases.
The gun ban will be in effect until June 8.
The Comelec also gave Pangarungan the authority to place election hot spots under Comelec control.
So far no area has been placed under Comelec control.
The Comelec had also granted automatic gun ban exemptions to senior government officials along with two security aides each.
Automatically exempted from the gun ban are the president and vice president; Senate president and senators; House speaker and representatives; chief justice and justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and the Court of Tax Appeals; and trial court judges.
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