When the Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared on Friday the gun ban during the 120-day election period, which starts on Sunday, Jan. 13 and ends on June 12, 2013, it also stated that Comelec exempts Aquino and Binay from gun ban. Yes, the President need not to ask for exemption from gun ban “…as commander in chief. Just to clarify, he is actually exempted,” Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. said at a command conference with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the Department of Education at the Comelec offices Friday.
Following the Comelec amended resolution, Vice President Binay, Senators not running on the up-coming election, and Members of the Cabinet are also exempted. Comelec Resolution No. 9561 prohibits anyone, with the exception of at least 38 groups, from carrying a gun during the five-month period before and immediately after the May 2013 elections.
Nationwide road checkpoints are also immediately implemented in accordance with the gun ban period. Public civilians and motorists need not panic, said PNP officials and utmost courtesy will be observed by the authorities to keep the checkpoint safe and within the boundaries of legal procedures. The Atimonan shootout (or was it a rubout?) left cast of doubts on the effectiveness of checkpoints. We can’t blame the civilians if they fear passing on checkpoints. Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima gave orders to his men to observe standard operating procedures, including wearing full uniform and conducting checkpoints in well lighted areas to allow motorists to read the signage and see the policemen to lessen doubts and fears from motorists.
Comelec Resolution No. 9561 has also provided exemptions from the gun ban for those claiming to be facing death threats. The exemptions are, however, limited to candidates and family members within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity.
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