PRRD wants automatic gun ban exemption for cops, soldiers

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President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed dismay over the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) failure to include the police and military personnel in the list of individuals exempted from the existing gun ban.

In his prerecorded Talk to the People delivered Monday night but aired Tuesday morning, Duterte said it was a “bad idea” to prohibit the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) from carrying firearms during the ban that began January 9 and will end June 8.

“Getting individually clearances from the Comelec is really a bad idea,” he said.

Duterte made the remark as he lamented that some PNP and AFP personnel have been arrested for violating the nationwide gun ban.

Duterte was opposed to the Comelec’s requirement that a cop or a soldier needs to secure a permit first, saying they should be given an “automatic” exemption.

“Eh kung miyembro ka ng military pati pulis, automatic na sana iyan (It should be automatic if you are a military or police personnel). I’m just advising Comelec through this program kasi it is my stand na mahirapan kasi ang isang pulis (that it will be difficult for a cop) to secure whatever clearances needed in the bringing of his handgun or rifle for that matter if he is a soldier or a policeman,” he said.

Duterte stressed that getting Comelec’s approval for police or a military officer to carry a firearm can be a tedious process.

He said the poll body should acknowledge that the government forces’ mandate is to “do what is right and what is his duty.”

“There will be no time sa pagkapulis mo pati pagka-military (for a policeman or a soldier) during elections that you are near the clearing authority na makahingi ka ng (to ask for a) certificate or whatever,” Duterte said.

“Alam mo (You know), you have to concede to the organization and to the soldier and the policemen himself na they’re supposed to act according to their oath of office and do everything that is right.”

Duterte also reminded the Comelec that violence occurs even after the election period, hence, it is unnecessary to prohibit the PNP and AFP to carry a gun.

“You know, elections here are a hate game for some politicians. After the elections, there is still the possibility of violence before, during and after a certain period. So, it’s not time to be imposing so many requirements,” he said.

He, however, clarified that he is not against the Comelec, saying he is merely emphasizing that there has to be “maturity even in our laws.”

“I know for sure that it is not under the Constitution because if it’s included in the Constitution, then that provision is stupid and should be removed from the books of our statute. Hindi maganda (It’s not good),” he said.

The PNP on Sunday reported the arrest of 2,934 gun ban violators, including 17 police officers, 17 military personnel, and 47 security officers.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año told Duterte that the arrests of cops and soldiers violating the gun ban are “isolated incidents.”

Currently, the President, the Vice President, the Chief Justice, the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and all justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals are given an automatic gun ban exemption.

Also included in the exemption list are all the regional, municipal, and metropolitan trial courts; the Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman, and investigators and prosecutors of the Office of the Ombudsman; the prosecutor general, chief state prosecutor, state prosecutors, and prosecutors of the Department of Justice; and officials and agents of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries, and assistant Secretaries, all election officers, provincial election supervisors, and regional election directors have a similar automatic exemption.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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