4 per­sons killed, 25 nabbed on first day of Com­elec gun ban

Sun.Star Pampanga - - NATION! -

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.

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