2022 Philippine Elections

FAQ: Gun ban, Comelec checkpoints during election period

Dwight de Leon
FAQ: Gun ban, Comelec checkpoints during election period
(1st UPDATE) Only those with a certificate of authority from a Comelec committee can bear firearms outside their residence during election period

The five-month election period began in the Philippines on Sunday, January 9. This means that additional security protocols are in place across the country in a bid to prevent election-related violence.

The election period, in particular, signals the start of the gun ban and the establishment of checkpoints.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions during this season.

Who are prohibited from carrying firearms outside of their residence?

Commission on Elections Resolution No. 10728, citing pertinent laws, made clear that no one is allowed to bear firearms in public places, unless they have secured permission from the Comelec’s committee on the ban on firearms and security concerns (CBFSC).

This means that even a license to own and possess firearms (LTOPF), letter order (LO), or mission order (MO) from law enforcement agencies will not exempt someone from the rule.

Who can apply for exemption?

The CBFSC can issue certificates of authority to applicants who want to bear or transport firearms during the election period, or employ a security detail.

They are:

  • Law enforcement agencies, such as the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and other government departments that perform law enforcement, security functions, and/or election duties
  • Security personnel of the foreign diplomatic corps, missions, and establishments under international law
  • security agencies
  • High-risk individuals
  • Security detail for public officials and private individuals
  • Those involved in the the transport or delivery of firearms, ammunition, and explosives, and/or their components
  • Sports shooters

Each category has different requirements, which the Comelec resolution enumerates here. The application forms can be accessed here.

Applications for gun ban exemption began on December 1, 2021, and the issuance of a certificate of authority will be until May 5, 2022.

Until when are the certificates of authority valid?

The certificates of authority will expire on June 8. It may be revoked on the basis of misrepresentation or false statement in the application, or other grounds deemed appropriate by the CBFSC. It may also be deemed void if the individual fails to adhere to its terms and conditions.

Are bladed souvenir instruments allowed?

Yes, they are allowed because they are not deadly weapons, and as long as they are purchased from shops and stores accredited by the Department of Tourism. The store must issue an authenticated sales certificate as proof that the item bought is a souvenir.

What should the public expect at Comelec checkpoints?

Comelec Resolution No. 10741 states that there will be at least one checkpoint in every town or city, manned by police or military personnel who should be in complete service uniform with visible name plates or identification tags.

The checkpoint must be well-lit, with a signboard to clearly identify the place as a checkpoint of the Comelec.

Only a visual search is required. A body search is prohibited, and the occupant cannot be compelled to step out of their vehicle unless there is reasonable ground that the person inside the car has committed, is committing, or will commit a crime.

The checkpoint personnel cannot require the motorist to open the trunk or glove compartment either, but may ask routine questions with courtesy to the vehicle occupant.

In addition, the personnel manning the checkpoint must observe COVID-19 protocols at all times.

Election offense

The election period is until June 8.

Any person found to be violating Comelec’s guidelines on the gun ban is liable for an election offense, and shall be punished with imprisonment of one year to six years. They will lose their right to vote and be disqualified from holding public office.

Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.