Comelec, AFP, PNP reiterate no exemption policy under gun ban
by Rutchie Cabahug-Aguhob
Cagayan de Oro City (14 January) -- The Regional Joint Security Control Center (JSCC) of the Commission on Elections, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police (Comelec-AFP-PNP) has reiterated the no exemption policy of the gun ban during the election period, from Jan. 10-June 9, 2010.
As explained by RJSCC Chairperson, Atty. Renato A. Magbutay, Regional Elections Director of region 10, what the RJSCC is accepting are only applications to hire or engage the employment of a security detail by candidates running in the May 10, 2010, elections and not for the candidates, themselves, to be exempted from the gun ban.
Meanwhile, P/Chief Supt. Danilo T. Empedrad, Regional Director of PNP-10, a member of RJSCC-10, said all existing authority granting security details, regionwide, have been revoked effective Jan. 10.
The affected individuals currently protected by the PNP and the AFP, however, may reapply for availment of the same and may be granted a 30-day temporary security detail (TSD) by the RJSCC pending approval by the Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel (CBFSP) in Manila.
In the same manner, all other applicants, upon determination of presence of real threat warranting the provision of TSD, may also be issued a non-extendible 30-day TSD by the RJSCC pending approval of their application by the CBFSP.
Empedrad also clarified that only bonafide personnel of the PNP, AFP, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) or protective agents of Protective Detective Agencies (PDA) will be deputized as security detail during the election period, provided that they will be in their proper uniforms and in the performance of their official duties, when they carry their guns.
However, only candidates from Mayor upwards will be provided with PNP / AFP security detail while other candidates may engage the services of Protective Agents.
Not more than two (2) regular members of the PNP, AFP or NBI will be detailed as security detail for each candidate, with the addition upon request, of not more than two (2) Protective Agents, except in meritorious cases, where additional security details may be requested for national elective candidates, subject to such conditions and restrictions that the CBFSP may impose.
Likewise, only personnel assigned in the PNP Headquarters of Regional / City / Provincial Police Offices will be detailed/deputized as security and those assigned in the unified command and infantry division headquarters Philippine Army or their equivalent in the Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force may be detailed/deputized as security as a last resort in the absence of PNP personnel or other law enforcement agents.
Empedrad said this is because members of the local PNP are already in the field manning the Joint Comelec-AFP-PNP checkpoints for the intensified implementation of "Oplan Sita" and "Oplan Bakal," especially targeting convoys of known political candidates maintaining private armed groups. (PIA 10) [top]