Comelec is clueless on who’s covered by election gun ban

The list of persons exempted from the gun ban is available only from the national Comelec's Committee of Firearms and Security Personnel in Manila, said  Melcar Unso, spokesperson of the Comelec in Southeastern Mindanao.

Remlane Tambuang, Comelec 11 regional director, said they have no files of those given exemption by their Manila office and said the only way to find it out was during inspection. The police would require any one carrying weapons to present his certificate of exemption.

He said the Comelec has a very centralized setup in terms of application and the granting of certificates of exemptions. Tambuang said the process does not involve the regional offices of the Comelec.

He said the regional Comelec offices should be furnished a copy "to help us monitor who these persons are," he told MindaNews in an interview Friday.

MindaNews tried to reach Police Chief Superintendent Andres Caro II to confirm if police was furnished a copy but his aide-de-camp said he was unavailable for an interview.

Davao City Police Office Director Jaime Morente told MindaNews in a text message that only the Comelec and the one issued with an exemption has a copy of the certificate.

Unso clarified to MindaNews that among the reasons for the centralization was that the list was confidential and that safeguards have to be kept so that the exemptions would not be faked.

Meanwhile, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, chairperson of the regional Regional Peace and Order Council, dared Comelec to enforce the law and disarm Davao del Sur gubernatorial bet, Claude Bautista "down to his last soldier".

"Comelec should just tell us that it is not capable of doing it and I would help ensure that the police will disarm him," he said. Carrying, use or transporting of firearms is

prohibited during election period in the Philippines from January 14 to June 13.

The Philippine National Police has created Task Force Sarmiento, a joint effort between the PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

The NBI reported that an unidentified witness have surfaced and filed an affidavit Thursday in support of the complaint by the victims' family.