Halalan 2022: Comelec issues rules on gun ban, security detail during election period

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 16 2021 08:14 PM

Arms Expo  Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
People visit the the Tactical, Survival, and Arms Expo during its opening as a hybrid expo in SM Megamall on July 15, 2021. The four-day expo aims to “inform and educate the public about the need to prepare for emergency situations and disasters including pandemics that impact the health and safety of Filipinos.” Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday published a resolution prohibiting the bearing, carrying and transporting of firearms and other deadly weapons from Jan. 9 until June 8, 2022, which covers the election period for the May polls.

Resolution No. 10728 also enumerates the rules and regulations on the ban, as well as availment of the services of security personnel or bodyguards for said period. 

“No person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or deadly weapons outside his/her residence or place of business, and in all public places, including any building, street, park, and in private vehicles or public conveyances, even if he/she is licensed or authorized to possess or carry the same, unless authorized by the [Comelec], through the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns (CBFSC),” the resolution stated.

It further read, “[n]o person shall employ, avail him/herself or engage the services of security personnel or bodyguards, whether or not such security personnel or bodyguards are regular members or officers of the PNP, AFP, other law enforcement agencies of the government or from the private security service provider, unless authorized by the [Comelec], through the CBFSC.”

Authorization from the CBFSC must be obtained for the transport and delivery of firearms, ammunition and explosives and corresponding parts/components, the Comelec said.

The CBFSC will be composed of one Comelec commissioner as chairperson, and one senior officer each from the AFP and PNP not lower than officer grade 07, brigadier general and police brigadier general, respectively, as members. 

The committee will be assisted by the CBFSC director, deputy director, the operations division, and secretariat division — all of whom are from the Comelec, and AFP and PNP representatives.

BEARING, TRANSPORT OF FIREARMS

Permits to carry firearm outside of residence (PTCFORs), mission orders (MOs) and letter orders (LOs) issued by the AFP, PNP or any other government law enforcement agency will be “suspended, ineffective, and without force and effect during the election period,” unless covered by a certificate of authority (CA) duly issued by the CBFSC. 

CAs will be valid until June 8, 2022 unless earlier revoked due to any misrepresentation or false statement in the application or its attachments, or submission of falsified documents; when the ground for the CA ceases to exist; and other grounds deemed appropriate by the committee. 

CAs may be issued to the following: 

  • Regular officers, members and agents of the Office of the President
  • Presidential Security Groups
  • Office of the Vice-President
  • Comelec chairman, commissioners, and officials of the commission
  • Regional and provincial election heads and election officers
  • Comelec organic security officers
  • AFP, PNP, BFP, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Philippine Coast Guard officers and personnel
  • Officers and members of other law enforcement agencies/entities
  • Officers of departments, divisions, offices performing law enforcement and security functions
  • Officers and personnel of jail and corrections facilities
  • Officers and members of intelligence and investigative divisions
  • Officers and members of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
  • Officers of several other public offices and institutions

While bearing firearms (maximum of 2 at a given time), these officials and personnel must be in the actual performance of duty or on the way to or returning from residence/dwelling/barracks or official station.

The same condition applies to security personnel of foreign diplomatic corps, missions and establishments under international law, and active regular employees of private security providers who may also seek a gun ban exemption (limited to one firearm).

Due to the nature of their duty, cashiers and disbursing officers may also avail of an exemption. They are allowed to bear one firearm, limited to a handgun which must either be a pistol or revolver.

"High-risk" public officials and personnel may also be exempted, provided they bear or transport a maximum of two firearms at a given time. 

These officials include, among others:

  • Vice president of the Philippines
  • Senate president and senators
  • Speaker and members of the House of Representatives
  • Chief justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals
  • Judges of the regional and municipal/metropolitan/circuit trial courts
  • Ombudsman and deputy ombudsmen
  • Investigators and prosecutors of the Office of the Ombudsman
  • Cabinet secretaries
  • Chairperson and commissioners of the Commission on Audit and Civil Service Commission
  • Secretary, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, prosecutor general, and prosecutors of the DOJ
  • Solicitor-general
  • Chief public attorney

Other qualified individuals who, by the nature of their official duties, profession, business or occupation, or who are witnesses under the DOJ’s witness protection program (WPP) or other similar program of the government, and former public officials, may be classified as ‘high risk’ by the CBFSC, may obtain authorization to bear or transport no more than one firearm limited to a handgun, which must either be a revolver or pistol, at any given time. 

Entities engaged in the transport, manufacture, sale, importation and exportation of firearms may be issued authorization for the conduct of business by the committee. 

Competitive Filipino sport shooters who will be participating in international classifier and qualifier matches scheduled prior to the election period may also avail of the gun ban exemption.

Meantime, the prohibition on the bearing, carrying and transporting of other deadly weapons also has an exemption: souvenir bladed instruments considered as ornamental display items.

During the election period, bladed souvenir items must be purchased only at shops accredited by the Department of Tourism.

These shops must issue the corresponding authenticated sales certificate which contains details about the purchase. The certificate is valid only for a limited period.

SECURITY DETAIL

All existing authority granting security personnel and/or bodyguards are deemed revoked during the election period, the Comelec said.

However, the authority granted to or the services of those appointed regular security detail for the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Secretary of National Defense, Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, Comelec Chairman and Commissioners, AFP chief of staff and major service commanders, and chief and senior members of the PNP, will subsist.

Senators, members of the House of Representatives, provincial governors, justices, judges and Cabinet secretaries whose regular security detail have been provided by the AFP, PNP or other government law enforcement agencies for at least a year at the time the Comelec resolution was promulgated (Nov. 10, 2021), may retain their security detail, provided they are accompanied by only 2 security personnel at any given time. 

Additional bodyguards employed from a licensed private security service provider may be added to the security detail of the abovementioned public officials, but limited only to 2 or any other number as deemed appropriate by the CBFSC.

Any violation of the provisions of the Comelec resolution will be considered as an election offense, the penalty for which is 1-6 years imprisonment, without possibility of probation, and will lose his/her right of suffrage, and perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

RELATED VIDEO FROM THE ARCHIVES

Watch more News on iWantTFC