PNP to snub protest over ‘gun ban’ arrests

DESPITE criminal charges will still be filed against arrested “gun ban” violators despite of some legalities raised by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s election lawyer, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said yesterday.

At least ten persons have been arrested nationwide by the PNP during the first hours of the 45-day long total election gun ban being enforced for the second time this year for the upcoming village and youth council elections next month.

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal has questioned the arrests, saying the ban implementation should have started yesterday and not last Saturday.

But PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo said they will continue the ban implementation despite questions raised by Macalintal.

“We respect the legal opinion of Macalintal, but in the meantime, we have the Comelec resolution mandating us to checkpoint operations and declaring gunban starting on September 25,” Bacalzo told Camp Crame based reporters.

The PNP chief said that while Macalintal’s question were not yet answered, they will continue to enforce Comelec resolution declaring a total-election gunban and charges will be filed against gun-ban violators before the Department of Justice (DoJ).

“So in the meantime, we will continue enforcing Comelec resolution and It’s up to the DoJ to determine the legality of our arrest or our confiscation, but we will coordinate with the Comelec on this issue,” Bacalzo said.

The PNP chief added. “We are just deputies of the Comelec and if the DoJ dismisses the case, we respect that and if the DoJ files the case, we respect that… unless that we are restrained by the COmelec itself,”

In the event that the DoJ dismisses the charges and the gun-ban violator’s files charges against the PNP, Bacalzo said. “Well we welcome those cases… it would be better to do our job under the mandate Comelec rather than stopping because of legal opinion,”

Reports from the PNP’s National Election Monitoring and Action Center (Nemac) in Camp Crame said that nine civilians and one government personnel have been nabbed since the gunban took effect on Saturday morning.

Ten firearms, consisting of two 12-gauge shotguns, an M16 rifle and seven automatic pistols have been seized by various checkpoints that have spread out all over the country, the Nemac reports said.

One of those arrested for gunban violation in Metro Manila was Jail Officer 1 Roderick Mancenido, who was arrested at a checkpoint for carrying government issued a .45 caliber Armscor pistol without the proper authority.

PNP spokesman, Spokesman, Senior Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., said that those persons arrested for gun-ban violations will charged appropriately for violation of the Omnibus Election code. Anthony Vargas

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