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Comelec: Fake gun ban exemptions being sold

By Reynaldo C. Santos Jr.

Comelec: Fake gun ban exemptions being sold

MANILA, Philippines–The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said it discovered that fake certificates of exemption from the gun ban are being sold by unscrupulous individuals.

A gun ban is in effect during the entire election period, from
January 10 to June 9. Unlike in past elections, the poll body is not
granting exemptions to carry firearms this year. 

Commissioner Lucenito
Tagle told reporters that the Comelec received reports claiming that
some people had been found carrying fake forms that allow the
possession of firearms. These forms, he said, are being sold for P5,000
each.

Tagle said out of the 1,360 individuals arrested for
illegally carrying firearms, 5 or 6 of were found to be carrying fake
gun ban exemption certificates.

Under Comelec Resolution 8714,
only those from law enforcing agencies like the Philippine National
Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are allowed to carry firearms
during the election period.

The format of the fake certificates
found were said to be copied from those used in the previous elections.
The poll body used to award certificates of exemption to interested
individuals only during previous elections.

This year, however,
the Comelec is implementing a total gun ban nationwide. "Now, it’s very
clear that only law enforcement agencies are allowed to carry
firearms," Tagle said.

The commissioner added that the poll
body didn’t allow even judges, mediamen, and government officials to be
issued gun ban exemptions. "We don’t grant exemptions individually," he
said.

But aside from arresting those who will be caught with the
fake certificates, Tagle is more interested in tracing the roots of
this illegal act. "Gusto namin malaman yung brains, kung sino
nagbebenta nyan," he said.

Tagle said that the PNP and AFP are conducting surveillance to investigate the source of the fake gun ban exemption forms.

Those
who will be arrested will face criminal offense for the falsification
of document, and election offense for violating the poll body’s
resolution. They will be facing imprisonment of 1 to 6 years, and might
be barred from voting.

Meanwhile, Tagle said that the PNP had
arrested 40 armed group members from various parts of the country. The
poll body, however, will not yet put their provinces under Comelec
control, as they still are waiting for the assessment report of AFP and
PNP. (Newsbreak)

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