MANILA (UPDATED) - Gun enthusiast President Noynoy Aquino joined the growing list of those seeking exemptions to the gun ban that will begin on Sunday—-the start of the 120-day election period for the mid-term elections.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Elias Yusoph, chair of the committee on the ban on firearms and security personnel, said his office received the application this morning.
“Under the law, he has been given...he’s allowed to have personal escort. He already has his PSG [Presidential Security Guard] so as I have said, he will go through the same process. We will be evaluating his application for personal exemption. For me, personally, that’s within his discretion being the chief executive of the country. The mere fact, when I read in the newspaper he was a victim of an ambush in 1987 as alleged in the newspaper, the preservation of life is supreme over trusting body guards, and he has that right to have, apply [for gun ban exemption]."
Aquino wants a gun-ban exemption for one long and one short firearm.
“Just this morning, I received his application for gun exemption. Personal exemption, that’s [for] being an enthusiast, yes," Yusoph said. “I think he’s using in practical shooting.”
Yusoph said Aquino will undergo the same process for exemption that will be imposed on other applicants.
Lines grew outside Yusoph’s office today ahead of the start of the gun ban on Sunday.
Yusoph, however, said all applications will have to be deliberated on by the commission en banc.
Yusoph said he also received gun ban exemption applications from senators and congressmen, among them Senators Bong Revilla, Antonio Trillanes, Miriam Santiago, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and Majority leader Vicente sotto III.
His office has at least 500 applications. “You know people outside and they are more than 500 already, these applications are subject for threat assessment,” Yusoph said.
Threat assessments will be done by the AFP and PNP.
Meanwhile, the commission en banc decided to include the National Prosecution Service, the Solicitor General, and Office of the Ombudsman as well as other constitutional commissions among those entitled to gun-ban exemptions.
In a related development, the Comelec will have a command conference with the AFP and PNP tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the Palacio del Gobernador.