WITH their guns unsealed this Yuletide, the Philippine National Police leadership yesterday called on the public to use their cellphone cameras in recording the presence of persons who will fire their guns in the air during the Christmas and New Year revelries.
“We’re calling on the citizenry to use their mobile phone cameras in recording any person who will fire their weapons indiscriminately during the Yuletide season since the recording will serve as a hard evidence against the suspect,” said PNP spokesman, Senior Superintendent Dionardo B. Carlos.
Carlos also said that information on indiscriminate firing can be immediately relayed to the nearest police station or by calling the government hotline 911, the DILG Patrol 117 or thru 0917-8475757. He assured that all complaints will be immediately addressed by concerned police units as the PNP has a strict feedback mechanism that goes after policemen who fail to do their job.
The PNP has veered away from the traditional practice of taping the muzzles of police firearms before Christmas Day since PNP chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa believes it does not speak well of a disciplined police force.
“It’s a directive from the Chief, PNP during our last command conference. This is to show the people that the PNP is a disciplined and trusted organization and in that case, it does not need muzzle taping. What we want to raise is the bar of discipline and responsibility among the PNP personnel and the trust and confidence of the people,” said PNP Director for Operations, Chief Supt. Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan.
The PNP chief’s directive means that police won’t tape the barrels of their guns and affix their signatures on it in front of the press before Christmas. Traditionally, police seal their guns before December 25 and those with broken seals are made to explain why they should not be investigated for indiscriminate firing.
The decade-long practice usually last up to January 6 with police commanders examining the taped service firearms of their men to see if there are signs that they have been fired.
However, officials said that undisciplined policemen won’t use their government-issued guns to engage in indiscriminate firing and instead fire unregistered guns. Carlos also said that records will show that trigger-happy civilians are mostly the suspects in previous indiscriminate firing incidents recorded by the police.
The probability of one individual policeman being caught if he fires his service gun is also big in the event slugs and casings are recovered since the ballistic records of all PNP-issued firearms are stored in a database of the PNP Crime Laboratory.
Cascolan has issued a memorandum to all 18 Police Regional Offices and National Operational and Administrative Support Units regarding the instruction of Gen. Dela Rosa.
“We are breaking away from the annual tradition of sealing the firearms of the police to show that we are disciplined and responsible enough not to fire our guns during the Christmas and New Year revelries,” said Cascolan.