Gun ban starts today

While there is no law yet postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said it is prepared to hold the polls on October 23.

“At 12:01 AM of Sunday, October 1, 2017, the start of the election period, checkpoints shall be established nationwide to effectively implement the firearms ban,” COMELEC Spokesman James Jimenez said in a statement.

Jimenez yesterday said the election period will run from October 1-30.

He reminded the public that the gun ban will be implemented at the start of the election period.

Jimenez noted that strictly prohibited during the election period are: alteration of territory of a precinct or establishment of a new precinct; carrying, bearing and transport of firearms and other deadly weapons, unless authorized by the Commission; and use of security personnel or bodyguards by candidates, unless authorized by the Commission.

Also banned during the period are: coercing, threatening, intimidating or terrorizing any election official or employee in the performance of his election functions or duties; transfer or detail of officers and employees in the civil service including public school teachers; organizing or maintaining reaction forces, strike forces or similar forces and suspension of any elective provincial, city, municipal or Barangay officers.

Violations to the prohibited acts constitute an election offense and carries with it a punishment of one  to six years imprisonment, disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right to suffrage.

COMELEC Resolution No. 10198, promulgated Sept. 14, 2017, states that there shall be at least one COMELEC Checkpoint in each city/municipality.

COMELEC said additional checkpoints, including those coming from other PNP/AFP commands outside the city/municipality, shall be established in coordination with the Election Officer (EO) having jurisdiction over the city/municipality.

On the other hand, Jimenez said that Committee on Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel started accepting and processing applications for gun ban exemptions last Sept. 22, 2017.

“Applications for gun ban exemption will continue to be accepted and processed, even after the start of the gun ban period, from Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” he said.

Meanwhile, the COMELEC spokesman reminded interested candidates for the village and youth polls that the period for the filing of certificates of candidacy will be from Oct. 5, 2017 to Oct. 11, 2017 and the Campaign Period will run from Oct. 12, 2017 to Oct. 21, 2017.

The poll body continues to prepare for the forthcoming polls in the absence of a law that postpones the October elections to next year.

Early this week, the House of Representatives adopted the Senate version of the measure postponing the October 23 polls to May 2018, thus, there is no need to call for a bicameral conference committee.

The measure only needs the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte for it to become a law. (Ferdinand G. Patinio/PNA)

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