Gun ban starts as election period kicks off

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STARTING today, January 9, 2022, there will be at least one checkpoint in all municipalities and cities in the entire country as the election period and the gun ban start.

Based on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution 10695, the election period begins on January 9 and will end on June 8, 2022.

During the election period, it is prohibited to bear, carry, or transport firearms or other deadly weapons, unless authorized in writing by the Commission.

The Comelec said it is also prohibited during the election period to use security personnel or bodyguards by candidates, unless authorized in writing by the Commission.

Lawyer Ferdinand Gujilde, spokesperson of the Comelec 7, said there would be a simultaneous kickoff of the gun ban implementation and checkpoint in the entire country starting 12:01 a.m. on Sunday.

Gujilde said the checkpoints should be manned by either uniformed police or military personnel whose name plates are visible for transparency and monitoring.

Checkpoints must be conducted within well-lit areas and should have two signages to alert motorists to the checkpoint.

Gujilde clarified, though, that the authority of the police or military personnel is limited to a visual search.

“By visual search, we mean that they can take a look inside the car and they can use a flashlight at night. But they cannot open the doors of the car and they cannot also compel the passenger or the driver to step out of the vehicle,” he added.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Wilbert Parilla, Cebu City Police Office’s deputy director for operations, said the checkpoints in the city will be done simultaneously from 12:01 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday.

He urged licensed gun owners to comply with the election gun ban.

“They should be aware that with the gun ban, all licenses and permit to carry firearms issued to licensed firearm owners are suspended starting at 12:01 a.m. of January 9, Sunday,” Parilla said.

Those caught carrying a firearm while the ban is in effect will face complaints for violation of the Comelec gun ban and illegal carrying of firearms.

During the election period, it is also unlawful for anyone to organize or maintain reaction forces, strike forces, or other similar forces.

The suspension of any elective local official is also prohibited.

The Comelec said it is now also prohibited to transfer or move officers and employees in the civil service sector.

It is also considered unlawful during the election period to alter the territory of a precinct or establish a new precinct.

Violation of the said prohibitions is tantamount to an election offense.

An election offense carries the penalty of one to six years imprisonment, disqualification to hold public office, and deprivation of the right of suffrage. (MKG, BBT, HDT / SunStar Philippines)

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