Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cafgu exemption in election gun ban opposed

01/13/2010 | 10:23 PM

Original Story:

The decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to exempt militiamen from the nationwide ban on firearms seems to be an unpopular one, with presidential aspirant Sen. Jamby Madrigal saying the resolution should be reviewed.

"These militia forces are more often than not being used only as cover for the private armies of local warlords," Madrigal said in a statement released Wednesday.

Madrigal said excluding members of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) from the gun ban would be like giving a killer the murder weapon of his choice.

In a text message to reporters, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said these militiamen could be used by local politicians and warlords to sow terror during the campaign and election period.

Through Comelec Resolution 8742, Cafgu members are allowed to carry firearms during the election period as they are considered auxiliary units of the military, which is not covered by the ban.

The Comelec, however, instructed the military leadership to be stricter in implementing the gun ban exemptions for Cafgu members to ensure that the firearms do not end up in the possession of private armies.

The government has started a crackdown on private armies following the Nov. 23 massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province. The carnage was blamed on the powerful Ampatuan clan and their armed supporters.

Authorities said there are more than a million loose firearms and 132 private armies around the country.

Communist rebels, meanwhile, said government paramilitary units, especially those employed by warlords, would be the target of their operations in the coming days. - KBK, GMANews.TV

Original Story:

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