Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gun Ban in Pangasinan: Another Stupid PNP Response

Last Friday, June 20, 2014, the PNP suspended all Permits to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence in Pangasinan.  This is among the knee-jerk responses of the police to the directive of PNoy to get the killers of Mayor Ernesto Balolong Jr, his Liberal Partymate who was shot at 9:15 in the morning of June 7 while inspecting the venue of his son’s wedding.  He succumbed to 27 bullet wounds.  Killed together with Mayor Balolong are his bodyguard PO1 Eliseo Ulanday and municipal employee Edmund Meneses.  PNoy gave the order when he visited the Mayor's wake. 

No matter how the PNP packages this gun ban as a component of their response to the Balolong killing, I cannot find the wisdom of this move—just like the other gun ban declarations in the past.  What does the PNP mean?  That the guns used in the killing of the Mayor were licensed?  If that is the case, then they can easily solve it already!  All they have to do is deduce the possible suspects, look into their record in the FED and crossmatch the evidence recovered in the crime scene!  Peanuts di ba?

But in truth and in fact, the bumbling police executives cannot do this because most probably, the guns used has no record in FED because it is unlicensed.  Now, if those guns are loose firearms, does the police still need a gun ban declaration to confiscate it?  At this point, it also needs emphasizing that based on the empty shells recovered in the scene, one of the guns used is an M16 armalite rifle.  Now, even if the rifle was licensed, it is still subject to confiscation because there are no permits to carry being issued to such high powered firearm.  The PNP is just finding a palusot for the incompetence of its field commanders in Region 1 and Pangasinan.

The PNP may trumpet the accomplishments of past gun bans to justify its declaration especially during the May 2013 elections.  Googling “gun ban violators in Pangasinan" returned the following news items: 

Arrest of Marcelino Obra, 44, of Barangay Diaz, Umingan town while drinking with his friends and showing off a fragmentation grenade and a fan knife.  His brother, barangay captain Paquito Obra, happened to pass by, who, despite their filial affiliation, still arrested him.

Arrest of 24-year-old Jar-Ar San Miguel of Sitio Dalumat, Barangay Sto. Tomas, San Jacinto for possession of a caliber .38 revolver.  Also recovered from San Miguel are marijuana leaves and live ammunition for caliber magnum 357.

Arrest of Jimmy Rebudan Jr., 41, of Barangay Salud, Bolinao town, after he fired his homemade shotgun in front of the house of barangay councilor Rolando Casta.

Arrest of Police Officer 1 Dick Macaraeg Curameng, of Barangay Taloy, San Carlos City, while drinking at a videoke bar armed with a .45 caliber pistol.

Arrest of Ricardo Balala, 39, a widower, of Sitio Raniag, Barangay Capaz, Umingan, while on board his motorcycle around 4:45 p.m. and carrying a Cal. 22 "paltik" (home-made) without ammunition, in a black holster.

In all these incidents and in many other cases, does the police need a suspension of the PTCFOR for these arrests to be effected?  Was there any difference in the situation if PTCFORs are in force?  Does the PNP mean that if there was no election gun ban, people can drink and play with a grenade just like Obra?  If there is no gun ban, people can carry a paltik just like Balala?  Or can they fire their sumpak in front of somebody’s house just like what Rebudan did?  Or in the case of a licensed firearm in the hands of the police, without the suspension of the PTCFOR, does the PNP mean that these guns can be carried inside a videoke house just like what PO1 Curameng did?

The truth, supported by irrefutable data, is staring at us in the face:  with or without the gun ban, all these arrests can be legally effected!  Especially in the case of PO1 Curameng, it is not the gun ban that prompted his arrest.  It is the higher emphasis accorded by authorities to these violations during the gun ban and the pressure of producing accomplishments when this directive is in effect.  With or without the gun ban, licensed gun holders bringing their firearms inside places of entertainment can be arrested in flagrante delicto.

If there will be a notable decrease in violent crimes in the next few days in Pangasinan as I expect the RD and the PD to trumpet in a short while, it will not be because of the gun ban.  It will be brought about by the fact that cops will be getting off their assess and patrol the streets once more because of renewed pressure from above.

Ironically, what a gun ban does is actually help the criminals.  It gives them unarmed targets, thus making their jobs hundreds of times easier.  If Pnoy or any official, wants to argue with this, then he can put his money where his mouth is and set the example.  He should try leaving all his and his bodyguards’ firearms in Tarlac when they go to Pangasinan…

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