Fri. May 27th, 2022

Some top officials of the government are exempted from the existing gun ban, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Monday.

(mb.com.ph)

Comelec Chair Saidamen Pangarungan said even their security personnel will be allowed to carry firearms during the ban that started January 9 and will end June 8. 

“We don’t want any senior government official to get injured or lose his life from an armed assailant simply because he cannot defend himself with his own firearm due to the gun ban,” he said in a press briefing.

“These officials need to feel secure in performing their duties, free from fear and pressure from others,” he added.

Aside from the President and Vice President, also exempted from the gun ban are the Chief Justice, Senate and House of Representatives members, and all justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals.

Likewise included in the exemption list are all judges of the regional, municipal, and metropolitan trial courts; the Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman, and investigators and prosecutors of the Office of the Ombudsman; the prosecutor general, chief state prosecutor, state prosecutors, and prosecutors of the Department of Justice; and officials and agents of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries, and assistant Secretaries, all election officers, provincial election supervisors, and regional election directors have similar automatic exemption.

Pangarungan said the amendment aims to expedite and simplify the grant of exemptions to the ban on the bearing, carrying, and transporting of firearms or other deadly weapons to “deserving” applicants.

Meanwhile, Pangarungan has been authorized by the Comelec en banc to declare areas under Commission’s control

“For example, there is a gun battle in Lanao del Sur. I don’t need to wait for another week to convene the Committee on the Ban of Firearms to declare it under Comelec control,” he said.

Under Comelec Resolution No. 10757, any political division, subdivision, unit, or area may be placed under Comelec control when the peace and order situation in the area may affect the conduct of elections.

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