INCUMBENT senators and congressmen, regardless of whether they are running in the May 2016 polls, have been allowed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to carry or transport firearms during the election period.
The new ruling was contained in Comelec Resolution 10047, which amended certain provisions of Resolution 10015 governing rules and regulations on the ban on the bearing, carrying or transporting of firearms and other deadly weapons, among others, during the 150-day (January 10 to June 8) election period.
Under the original provision of Resolution 10015, only senators and congressmen “who are not candidates” were allowed to bear firearms.
The Comelec law department has said an incumbent senator or congressman remains to be a high-ranking elected official, and is entitled to exercise and discharge his lawful mandate to the full term of his office, regardless of whether he had filed a certificate of candidacy (COC) for purposes of reelection or for other elective positions.
It added that lawmakers being elective public officials are not considered resigned from office, even if they filed their COC.
Aside from members of the Senate and House of Representatives, the resolution also includes persons who are considered “high risk” to carry and transport firearms subject to presentation of credible evidence to justify the grant of exemption.
It also allows the Philippine National Police (PNP) to provide security detail to qualified private individuals subject to certain conditions.
Also exempted from the election gun ban are President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Vice President Jejomar Binay; Cabinet secretaries; justices of the Supreme Court; justices of the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeals; judges of trial courts; Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsmen; chairman and commissioners of the Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit and Commission on Human Rights; Comelec officials; and security personnel of the foreign diplomatic corps, missions and establishments under international law.
Also covered by the exemption are regular members, officers and agents of law enforcement or government security agencies like the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Corrections, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and intelligence and investigation divisions of the Bureau of Customs, Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Bureau of Immigration and Manila International Airport Authority.