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Help our police catch trigger-happy cops, civilians

  • Written by Alfred P. Dalizon
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 174

I’M making this appeal anew knowing that there will be trigger-happy policemen, soldiers and other law enforcement agents as well as civilians who will fire their guns in the air indiscriminately during the Christmas and New Year revelries despite stern warning from authorities.

Again, I would break my promise to my departed Nanay and Tatay that I would not speak ill of any person or wish them bad luck. Am sorry but I am wishing that the bullets fired by trigger-happy gun-holders will hit them or get stuck in the head of one of their loved ones.
   
I’m saying this because I have been tired of writing all kinds of warnings from the PNP leadership about the danger of indiscriminate firing. But despite these constant reminders, many people, law enforcers and civilians alike seemed to be deaf or blind to the warning and continue to violate the ban at the slightest instance, particularly when they are drunk. Thus, how I wish that these trigger-happy persons would see their own loved ones as the victims of their bullets while in jail, in case the bullet fails to hit them in the head.
   
Over the years, we have been witness to cases of rogue drunken cops firing their guns in the air to celebrate Christmas or New Year in Metro Manila and other parts of the country. During the term of PNP chief Nick Bartolome, the country was infuriated by the presence of three policemen who got involved in separate cases of indiscriminate firing in Manila.
   
Officials even described one of the three as the ‘pinakasiga’ among them. The cop then assigned with the NCRPO Regional Public Safety Battalion was arrested by members of the MPD Station 4 shortly after he went on a shooting spree in Sampaloc, Manila killing a man and injuring two others.
 
While escaping, he again figured in an argument with another group of men prompting him to shoot two other victims. Unlucky for him, a group of patrolling policemen chanced upon him and quickly hauled him to jail. I don’t know what happened to the cases of these three policemen whom officials described were among the very few scoundrels in the 160,000-strong police force.
   
Speaking of the very few who continue to give a bad light to the organization despite the massive reforms it has been undertaking, a Pasig City policeman named PO1 Ronel Pantig will find himself facing the prospect of being dismissed from the service after he was caught on video indiscriminately firing his gun in Tondo, Manila last Monday.
   
Pantig will also become the first member of the PNP to be fired from the service for wanton violation of PNP chief, General Ronald ‘Bato’  dela Rosa’s strict warning against indiscriminate firing of guns to celebrate Christmas and New Year.
   
Yesterday, NCRPO chief, Director Odie Albayalde ordered the filing of criminal and administrative charges against PO1 Pantig who was caught on video firing his caliber 9mm semi-automatic pistol in the air in his neighborhood on A. Rivera Street in Tondo around 2 a.m. last Monday.
   
Eastern Police District director, Chief Superintendent Mol Sapitula told me he has ordered the disarming of Pantig who will be charged with grave misconduct and alarm and scandal.
    
I  learned from MPD Station 7 commander, Superintendent Tom Ibay that PO1 Pantig fired seven shots in the air while riding a motorcycle with a woman believed to be his girlfriend. No one was hurt in the incident although bullets struck the walls and door of the house of one Anthony Tan who told investigators he saw PO1 Pantig firing his weapon indiscriminately. Neighbors of the suspect also said that he has the habit of firing his gun in the air each time he is drunk.
 
A year ago, I also learned of an incident wherein a group of heavily-drunk rookie cops fired their guns in the air in a Sampaloc neighborhood. Despite complaints from affected residents, I was told that no charges were filed against the PNP rascals, apparently due to lack of evidence or lack of interest of the residents to pursue charges against them. In short, those cops literally got away with their crime.
   
This time, I know that Gen. de la Rosa and Albayalde won’t take PO1 Pantig’s offense lightly and will throw the book on him. Ironically, some cops really never learn that CCTV and cellphone cameras will always be around to record their illegal acts.
   
I would also say that there are many law enforcers who seemed to be oblivious of the many government warnings or they totally ignore them knowing that they won’t be caught. In the case of PO1 Pantig, he committed his act days after Gen. de la Rosa said that crack police teams will arrest individuals including members of the uniformed service who will fire their guns indiscriminately during the Christmas and New Year revelries.
        
With the PNP veering away from the yearly tradition to seal  the muzzles of police firearms, I am joining the country’s top cop in his appeal for the public to please use their cellphone cameras in recording the presence of persons who will fire their guns this Yuletide.
 
As PNP spokesman, Senior Supt. Dionards Carlos had said, citizens should use their mobile phone cameras to record any person who will fire his weapons indiscriminately during the Yuletide season since the recording will serve as hard evidence against the suspect.
   
Let’s help the PNP catch these bad guys too by immediately calling the nearest police station or the government hotline 911, the DILG Patrol 117 or thru 0917-8475757. Carlos has given the assurance that all complaints will be immediately addressed by concerned police units as the PNP has a strict feedback mechanism that goes after policemen who fails to do their job.