Comelec checkpoints net 25 violators, 27 firearms

Comelec checkpoints net 25 violators, 27 firearms

MANILA — A total of four persons were killed, 25 were arrested and 27 firearms were seized in checkpoints nationwide on the first day of election period and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban on Sunday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported Monday.

The PNP said an hour after the implementation of the Comelec gun ban, two motorcycle riders were killed after they allegedly sped off and tried to avoid a checkpoint in Barangay Graceville in San Jose Del Monte Bulacan.

Policemen chased the motorcycle riders, which resulted in a gunfight.

Recovered from the slain suspects were a .38-caliber and a .45-caliber handguns.

Meanwhile, the PNP also reported that around 5 a.m., a shootout between policemen and a man ensued at a Comelec checkpoint in San Antonio, Nueva Ecija. The incident resulted in the killing of the suspect and the recovery of a homemade gun.

In Gapan City, one of two motorcycle-riding thieves was killed after allegedly trying to evade a checkpoint in Barangay Sto. Cristo Norte after authorities received information about the stolen motorcycle in the area.

Aside from the stolen motorcycle, suspected illegal drugs and a .38-caliber revolver were recovered from the motorcycle thieves.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said 4,447 checkpoints were set up in strategic areas nationwide, which also resulted in the confiscation of 168 rounds of ammunition, seven bladed weapons, 22 gun replicas, 70 sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and two glass pipes with suspected marijuana.

“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 told reporters during a press briefing at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

He said field reports from the Police Regional Offices continue to come in on the results of the first day of implementation of Comelec resolution No. 10468, which provided guidelines on the establishment and operation of checkpoints for the mid-term polls.

“There will be daily updates of reported gun ban violations for the entire duration of the election period through the Election Monitoring and Action Centers in the national, regional and provincial levels,” he said.

Aside from the mandated responsibilities of the PNP as a deputized agency of the Comelec, Albayalde said they are also tasked to dismantle private armed groups, provide security to vulnerable candidates, accounting of loose firearms, and neutralize gun-for-hire and criminal gangs.

“It helps a lot that we are implementing this election security operations just as we wrap-up a year-long successful campaign in year 2018 against loose firearms, private armed groups and criminal syndicates that would have complicated the present situation and added to the security concerns for the coming midterm elections in May,” Albayalde said.

“Each time, there are always lessons learned from previous experience that allow us to innovate and improve on how to address situations. And always we put our best foot forward to accomplish the mission,” he added.

Meanwhile, Albayalde said the PNP set up 518 checkpoints, on top of the eight joint checkpoints with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), in the areas covered by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for the upcoming plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

“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,” he said.