Comelec commissioner Inting quits as gun ban panel chair as 'protest'

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 12 2022 09:44 PM

Comelec commissioner Inting quits as gun ban panel chair as 'protest'

MANILA — Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner Socorro Inting on Tuesday resigned as chairperson of the poll body's gun ban committee as a "protest" to the amendment that gives power to the chairman to unilaterally declare an area under Comelec control. 

In her resignation letter obtained by ABS-CBN News, Inting said the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns (CBFSC) has been rendered "pointless" and "inutile" following the amendments finalized in last week's en banc meeting.

"The bestowal on the Chairman of the Commission of the power to grant gun ban exemptions and place Election Areas of Concern under Comelec Control based on the vague and arbitrary phrase of "meritorious and urgent cases" essentially rendered futile or pointless the existence and functions of the CBFSC," Inting said in her letter.

Comelec chairman Saidamen Pangarungan on Monday announced some changes in the rules on gun ban exemption and declaration of areas under Comelec control.

Under Comelec Resolution No. 10777, automatic gun ban exemption is granted to senior government officials. Meanwhile, the chairman was also empowered to bypass the CBFSC and put an area under Comelec control in "meritorious and urgent cases."

"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. In protest, I hereby resign irrevocably as CBFSC Chairperson effective immediately,” Inting said.

Inting was one of the 3 commissioners, along with Aimee Ferolino and Marlon Casquejo, who dissented the promulgation of Comelec Resolution No. 10777.

They were outvoted by Pangarungan, George Garcia, Aimee Neri, and Rey Bulay, the Comelec newcomers. 

Justifying the resolution, Pangarungan said the power would allow him to respond faster once election-related violence erupts in an area.

"Kailangan merong authority ang chairman to declare an area under Comelec control kasi halimbawa nagbabarilan sila doon sa Lanao del Sur, does it mean that I need wait for another one week to convene the CBFSC para ma-declare ito under Comelec control?" Pangarungan said.

The chairman promised to exercise the power "sparingly" and only upon the recommendation of the police and military.