MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to automatically exempt the police and military from the gun ban it imposes, given their responsibility to maintain peace and order during the polls.
"Getting individual clearances from Comelec is a really, a bad idea... One has to go to secure a permit and everything," Duterte said in a taped national address that aired Tuesday.
"I'm trying to suggest... kapagka duly-appointed military man or in the roster of soldiers o police, automatic na sana 'yang exempt members," he added.
(For a duly-appointed military man or in the roster of soldiers o police, I hope the exemption is automatic.)
Comelec allowed members of the police and military to carry firearms for election duties. However, they may only carry these "in the specific area designated by the Commission," according to its Resolution No. 1078.
But some policemen live outside Comelec-designated areas and are apprehended at check points for carrying firearms, said Duterte.
These are "isolated" incidents, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año told the President.
"Sa pagtupad ng tungkulin, kapag ang isang sundalo ay... nasa kanyang area of operation or area of responsibility ay hindi naman 'yun hinuhuli dahil may kauukulang mission order 'yan galing sa commander ng kaniyang unit," Año said.
(If a soldier is inside the area of operation or area of responsibility, he or she is not apprehended because there is a mission order from the unity commander.)
But Duterte maintained it was better if the exemption was "automatic."
"I am just advising Comelec through this program because it is my stand na mahirapan kasi ang isang police (it is difficult for a police officer) to secure whatever clearance is needed in bringing of these hand guns or rifle, for that matter if he's a soldier or policeman," he said.
The Comelec recently exempted senior government officials, judges, and prosecutors from the gun that started on Jan. 9 and would end on June 8.