3:31 am | Monday, February 18th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines—The Makati City police stood firm in its implementation of the nationwide gun ban, charging a bodyguard of an ambassador to Manila with violation of the election prohibition.
Makati police chief Senior Supt. Manuel Lukban Jr. said city police on Saturday afternoon apprehended Noel Aspa, 31, a “protective agent” of Accuria Executive Protection and Detective Services Inc. who was hired to provide security for the Kuwaiti ambassador to the Philippines.
Aspa was stopped at 1:40 p.m. by a security guard manning the entrance to Greenbelt 5 as he entered ahead of Ambassador Waleed Ahmad Al-Kandari.
Aspa refused to deposit his firearm, a 9-mm pistol, with 15 rounds of ammunition, prompting the mall guard to radio policemen patrolling near the area for help.
Lukban said that out of respect for the diplomat, and so as to “not jeopardize his security,” the police confiscated the gun but allowed Aspa to enter with the ambassador.
The Makati police, however, went ahead and filed a complaint in court against Aspa for violating the Omnibus Election Code.
“If the judge issues a warrant of arrest for him, then we’ll arrest him,” Lukban said.
High profile requires exemption
Lukban reminded private security agencies that no matter how high profile their clients were, they were still “specifically required to seek an exemption from the Commission on Elections.”
Once an exemption is approved, private security guards are required to be in uniform when they carry their guns, and they must wear their IDs visibly on their fronts.
Aspa was in civilian clothes and could not present any papers showing that he was exempted from the gun ban. “They filed for an exemption but it has not yet been approved,” Lukban said.
According to National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina, between Jan. 13 and Feb. 17, the NCRPO arrested 239 persons in Metro Manila for violating the election gun ban.
The NCRPO has confiscated 136 firearms, nine hand grenades and other explosives, and 111 deadly weapons, he said.