6 persons arrested since start of Comelec gun ban

POLICE arrested six persons in the first two days of the gun ban in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and around the province.

Four were caught with firearms in Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Cebu Province. Two persons were apprehended for concealing bladed weapons in Mandaue City and Cebu City.

Supt. Reyman Tolentin, chief of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 information office, said that 4,772 personnel manned the 879 checkpoints from Saturday midnight until Sunday night.

He said checkpoints will help immobilize potential armed group members during next month’s Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

Tolentin said they have to implement the law regardless if the violator is not aware of the gun ban, as ignorance cannot be used as an excuse.

The gun ban has been in effect since last April 14 and will be in effect until May 21.

Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Alan Okubo, Cebu Provincial Police Office director, said they have activated the Provincial Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center.

He described the first two days of the gun ban implementation as peaceful.

Okubo also said that two barangays in the midwestern town of Tuburan are being eyed for inclusion in the election watch list of areas.

However, they still have to submit the list to the PRO 7 validation and review, he said.

He said that the two barangays had election-related incidents in the 2015 barangay elections.

The police official did not divulge the names of the barangays with nothing final yet.

But before the elections in May 2016, former Montealegre barangay captain Luduvico Oroquero was arrested for shooting to death the bodyguard of Mayor Democrito Diamante.

Last week, 24 chiefs of the town’s 54 barangays surrendered 32 loose firearms. Diamante, in an earlier report, said this was one way of promoting peace and order in next month’s elections.

Okubo said they are also monitoring barangay officials who have alleged links to the illegal drug trade and private armed groups that may offer their services to the candidates.

He said the electorate should follow their conscience in choosing their leaders and not vote for candidates involved in the illegal drug trade. (KAL)