As a necessary precaution for the upcoming national elections, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) gun ban was put into effect last night. And in a span of just a few hours, they have apprehended a total of eighteen violators. If this rate continues, we could hope for a peaceful election for once. But that dream depends on the effectiveness of the said ban, and who the authorities plan to implement it on.
Almost all election-related violence involves the use of guns, and these firearms are the common tools used to harass voters and manipultate their votes. COMELEC wants to solve this problem and imposed a gun ban, which states that no individual, unless given an exemption by COMELEC, is allowed to carry guns or explosives outside of their residency. The ban applies to all civilians, police and military personnel, lawyers, politicians, businessmen, showbiz personalities — but only on paper. This year isn’t the first time a gun ban is put into effect, there had been bans before; even last year but violence and election-related crimes sprung on every corner of the country.
Most of the time, the influential politicians evade the ban. Their bodyguards continue to sport their high-powered firearms, intimidating their political rivals and their supporters. The guns that they own, most often, are acquired illegally. Yet they don’t get apprehended by authorities, not even get a reprimand from court. If they go too far however, they are sued to court. But they don’t stay there for long, for some apparent reason their cases always gets withdrawn and they are free once more or they post bail that they can well afford. Politicians appear like they can just get away with anything, that they are exempted from the law.
These people make the gun ban look useless, in fact, they make the entire judiciary look useless. These circumstances allowall the violence to happen during elections, they hinder the country from having a peaceful and democratic election. The security personnel are already doing their best to secure the poll precints but are deemed ineffective because the fugitives that they apprehend are made innocent by the court.
If a proper gun ban was in effect, the massacre in Maguindanao wouldn’t have had happened. In fact, the Ampatuan clan have been known long before to posses such an army of goons, if a legal action was done they wouldn’t have had the ability to commit such a heinous offense.
A nationwide gun ban is the ideal option to curb the lawlessness that happens during election periods, but that would clearly depend on what kind of gun ban would be put in place. A gun ban for some or a gun ban for all?