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Legarda: Implement Absolute Gun Ban to Curb Election Violence

March 13, 2010

NP-NPC-LDP VICE PRESIDENTIAL BET LOREN LEGARDA CALLED FOR STRICTER IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ABSOLUTE GUN BAN IN ORDER TO CURB ELECTION-RELATED VIOLENCE.
Reacting to a report that 2010 will be the most violent election ever, Legarda said “Nakakabahala ito. We should revisit the procedures and plug loopholes for gun ownership in the country. Only with stricter implementation of the absolute gun ban will we end election violence in the country.”
Legarda also said government should study very closely the practice of giving amnesty to illegal gun owners.
She scored the weak implementation of the gun control law that allows the proliferation of firearms among civilians.
“Guns for hire are dime-a-dozen in the Philippines during election season. What is government doing to crack down on the private goons of politicians? Time and again, elections in the Philippines have been a bloody exercise,” she said.
“I challenge the DOJ, PNP and the Arroyo administration to put an end to this.”
The police estimates there are 1.2 million unlicensed firearms and 1.8 million registered ones in the Philippines.
She further advised the public and the media to stay vigilant.
“The cycle of politics and violence has to stop. Only then can we say that we have a working democracy – if we can hold an election without bloodshed,” she said.
Late last year, among the victims of election-related violence were partymates from the Nacionalista Party (NP).
Joen Caniete, running for town councilor in Ilocos Norte, and about 40 colleagues were ambushed. Two other NP candidates running for local posts elsewhere in the country were also killed that same week, while a fourth was felled in January.
From 1992 to 2007, a total of 537 people were killed in election-related incidents.