Election lawyer says the month-long firearms ban must be implemented now

MANILA — The over a month ban on firearms nationwide should have been in effect starting Saturday, Oct. 1, as provided in an order of the Commission in Elections (Comelec) in connection with the Oct. 31, 2016 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls.

According to Atty. Romulo Macalintal, the ban on firearms, which is from Oct. 1 until Nov. 7, should have been implemented as stated by Comelec Resolution 10151 issued on July 12, 2016, since the law postponing the polls scheduled late this month has not been passed officially.

Likewise, the election lawyer urged the poll body to implement the existing election law under the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) and cannot suspend its preparation merely due to a proposed law.

“Comelec cannot suspend the implementation of the OEC since the bills approved by Congress have not yet been signed into law by the President,” he said.

Macalintal added, “Thus, what is existing and has to be implemented by Comelec are laws providing for the Oct. 31 village polls and the prohibited acts during the election period from Oct. 1 to Nov. 7 as provided under its said resolution.”

Earlier, he asked the poll body to implement the prohibition during the Election Period, which is from Sept. 16 to Oct. 30, 2016.

During the said period, it is prohibited to appoint or hire new employees or create new positions in the government service as provided under Section 261(g) of the OEC.

The banning on firearms is also stated under Section 261(h) of the same Code.

Although, the Senate and the House of Representatives have already approved the postponement of the 2016 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to Oct. 23, 2017, no law has been passed that officially deferred the holding of the polls to next year. PNA-northboundasia.com