Police collar man carrying unlicensed firearms, sample ballots stapled with bills in Cebu City

A MAN carrying unlicensed firearms and sample ballots attached with money was caught in a Commission on Elections checkpoint in Barangay Lusaran, a mountain village in Cebu City past 11 p.m. Saturday, May 7, 2022.Suspect Jerwin Cortes Laguna yielded a .357 revolver with no serial number and loaded with 11 bullets, and a .45 pistol with five bullets in its magazine.Eleven sample ballots bearing the names of a local party’s candidates from mayor down to councilors were seized from Laguna, who hails from Barangay Ginatilan, Balamban.Each sample ballot had been stapled with P200 in bills.The Comelec checkpoint was led by the personnel of the Cebu City Mobile Force Company under Lt. Yves Montejo, according to Lt. Col. Wilbert Parilla, Cebu City police deputy director for operation.Parilla said they had received information that someone handles Laguna’s activities in the city’s mountain barangays, but they have yet to check if he’s a member of an armed group.The Cebu City police has received information that an armed group has been roaming around in mountain villages to scare the voters; however, this report still needs validation.The police official said they still have to check if Laguna had been involved in vote-buying activities.Laguna will be charged for illegal possession of firearms, and for violating the Comelec gun ban and Presidential Decree 247, which prohibits and penalizes “defacement, mutilation, tearing, burning or destruction of Central Bank notes and coins.”