By Aaron Recuenco
Police have arrested 25 persons in the first 24 hours of the implementation of the election gun ban.
Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said that the checkpoints set up across the country has also resulted in the confiscation of 27 firearms, seven bladed weapons and 22 gun replicas.
“We hit the ground running on the first 24 hours of checkpoint operations starting on the opening minutes of Sunday, January 13, to strictly enforce the nationwide gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections,” said Albayalde.
He said his men also confiscated 70 sachets of shabu and two glass pipes containing marijuana.
A total of 4,447 checkpoints have been initially set up since the election period started at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday.
The six-month gun ban, as implemented by the Comelec and the PNP started Sunday, January 13, and would end on June 12 this year.
Based on the PNP memorandum, police commanders were required to set up at least one checkpoint in every towns of the country.
Albayalde said the establishment of checkpoints is aimed at ensuring peaceful conduct of the midterm elections in May this year.
“The first day of the election period may be considered generally peaceful yet it depicts that violent incidents may still occur due to the number of confiscated firearms,” said Albayalde.
The official said he had required all police commanders to submit daily updates of the gun ban implementation to update and at the same time inform and warn the public.
“There will be daily updates of reported gun ban violations for the entire duration of the election period through the election monitoring and action centers in the national, regional and provincial levels,” said Albayalde.
Civilians caught violating the gun ban would be slapped with criminal charges while those in the uniformed service will face additional administrative charges.
Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent William M. Segun, Cavite Police Provincial Office director, said the gun ban would be a test for his officers and men considering that the province had been the scene of shooting incidents in past election periods.
During the election gun ban in 2016, PPO reports showed that there were about 50 shooting incidents, mostly involving crimes that have occurred in Cavite’s lowland and upland districts.
In 2013 election gun ban months, there were reportedly 120 shooting incidents.
Cavite is deemed as the country’s most populous province with over 4.4 million residents. The Cavite Comelec said that there are over 2 million registered voters in the turf.
Just a day after the Jan. 13 gun ban implementation, a number of residents were arrested for violations or have surrendered illegal firearms.
At General Mariano Alvarez municipality, the local police arrested two motorcycle-riding men for possession of shabu at a Comelec checkpoint.