4 persons killed, 25 nabbed on first day of Comelec gun ban
FOUR persons were killed and 25 others were arrested during the first day of implementation of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban, which has been implemented as part of security measures for the May elections.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde said 4,447 checkpoint operations were conducted in strategic areas nationwide. During these checkpoints, 25 persons were arrested and 27 firearms, 168 rounds of ammunition, seven bladed weapons, 22 gun replica, 70 sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and two glass pipe with suspected marijuana were confiscated.
"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 and seized firearms," Albayalde said.
In Bulacan, one hour after the gun ban was implemented, two motorcycle riders were killed after they allegedly sped off and tried to avoid a Comelec checkpoint in Barangay Graceville, San Jose Del Monte town.
Policemen chased the motorcycle riders, resulting in a gunfight.
“Nung nasukol na sila dito ay inabandon nila (ang motor), bumaba sila ng motor at tangkang patakas habang pinuputukan ang ating mga papalapit na operatiba,” Bulacan Police Provincial Office Chief Chito Bersaluna said.
Recovered from the slain riders were a caliber .38 revolver and a caliber .45 pistol.
Around 5 a.m. Sunday, January 13, a shootout between policemen and a man ensued in a Comelec checkpoint in San Antonio, Nueva Ecija.
The incident resulted in the killing of the suspect, who yielded a homemade gun.
In Gapan City, one of two motorcycle-riding thieves was killed after allegedly trying to avoid a checkpoint established in Barangay Sto. Cristo Norte after authorities received information about a motorcycle-napping incident.
Aside from the stolen motorcycle, suspected illegal drugs and a caliber .38 revolver were recovered from the thieves.
The gun ban implementation started at 12:01 of January 13 and it will end on June 12.
During the nationwide gun ban, carrying of firearms and explosives outside a residence is prohibited, while processing of licenses for gun owners is also suspended.
Only the on-duty policemen, soldiers and other law enforcers are exempted from the gun ban, which seeks to prevent unlawful elements, such as private armed groups and gun-for-hire groups, from intimidating, injuring or killing anyone during the election season.
Through the conduct of checkpoints, the PNP seeks to intercept guns, explosives and other instruments of violence.
In the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Armm), where a forthcoming plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law will be held before the May 2019 elections, the PNP conducted 518 checkpoint operations in addition to the eight more joint checkpoints with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
A person, with an unregistered caliber .38 revolver with two rounds of live ammunition, was arrested upon inspection in a checkpoint in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi on Sunday, January 13.
“Based on our assessment, the Martial Law in Mindanao significantly decreased the proliferation of firearms in the region, but it should not be taken for granted considering that the most number of loose firearms are in that area,” said Albayalde. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/ SunStar Philippines) MALACAÑANG on Monday, January 14, expressed dismay over the Department of Foreign Affairs' (DFA) disclosure that a terminated passport contractor had caused the non-availability of personal data of Philippine passport holders.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the recent revelation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoto Locsin with regard to supposed passport data breach was a "serious and grave matter."
"We are one with the Filipino people in their quest for truth and so we will not treat this issue lightly," Panelo said in a statement.
Locsin earlier claimed that a previous passport maker "took all" the personal information of passport holders.
The DFA chief's revelation was then followed by a requirement for those renewing passports to submit birth certificates.
Panelo said applicants should be encumbered by the agency's new requirement.
"Applicants should not be burdened by submitting original copies of their certificates of live birth, obtaining which requires another application process before the Philippine Statistics Authority, to renew their passports just because the producer lost their relevant data," the Palace official said.
"The submission of the old or current passport which the applicant seeks to renew should suffice for the purpose. The ongoing practice is not only cumbersome to everyone affected but is a form of red tape which this administration frowns upon and will not tolerate," he added.
The supposed passport data breach raised worry among the public, prompting the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to conduct an investigation on the issue.
Over the weekend, NPC commissioner Raymund Librado said the commission would summon DFA officials, other concerned agencies, and the unnamed contractor to shed light on the matter.
The NPC, created through the Data Privacy Act of 2012, is mandated to ensure that information and communications system in the government and the private sector are protected.
Panelo said the Palace was expecting that the NPC would thoroughly investigate the reported passport data loss and release findings, which may include the possible violations of the people concerned.
"The investigation should not, however, end here since the current arrangement for the printing of passports should also be examined to determine if there are violations of pertinent laws which may be detrimental to the public," he said.