MAJORITY of the nearly 800 armed drug traffickers killed in gunfights with the police since last July 1 were found in possession of home-made caliber .38 revolvers a favorite weapon of underworld characters due to their much cheaper price and availability in the local market, officials said yesterday.
Many of them being manufactured in clandestine gun shops in Central Visayas and being smuggled to Metro Manila and the rest of the country, these handguns could be passed off as genuine .38 revolvers with illegal gunsmiths developing the craftsmanship and choosing the right steel to manufacture the illegal weapons thru the years.
In many parts of the country, underworld characters can buy these guns for as low as P3,000 to P5,000 each unit. Philippine National Police spokesman, Senior Superintendent Dionardo B. Carlos said that apart from their much cheaper price and availability, these guns are the favorite weapon of criminals who don’t have to secure required gun papers and permits to own a licensed firearm.
In many instances, these guns have been used by notorious thieves in robbing jeepney and bus passengers. These guns can be easily thrown into rivers, canals or other hiding places with the possibility of tracing their real owners nil in case they are found.
From July 1 to last week, 756 armed drug offenders have been killed in reported clashes with arresting policemen and majority of them yielded home-made cal. .38 revolvers. Only a handful was found in possession of .45 pistols and other firearms.
In Central Luzon, majority of the 173 armed drug dealers killed in encounters with members of the Police Regional Office 3 during the period were found in possession of home-made .38 guns. The same was also reported in Calabarzon region where 77 armed drug suspects killed in firefights with the police in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces mostly yielded .38 revolvers.
In Metro Manila, the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Chief Supt. Oscar D. Albayalde said majority of the 230 suspects killed in gun battles with the police during the period also yielded .38 revolvers.
The recovery of home-made cal. .38 revolvers from majority of the armed drug suspects slain in reported shootouts with PNP operatives since the start of the Duterte administration comes in the wake of a strict reminder by the PNP leadership on the ‘planting’ of a gun or bullet against any individuals during police operations.
Under Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013, ‘planting’ a gun or a bullet on an innocent person to frame-him up has no place in this country which has made the offense a heinous crime punishable by as long as 40 years in jail.
The Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10591 have a strong provision called ‘liability for planting evidence.’ It states that the ‘penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period shall be imposed upon any person who shall willfully and maliciously insert, place and/or attach, directly or indirectly, through any overt or covert act, any firearm or ammunition, or parts thereof in the person, house, effects, or in the immediate vicinity of an innocent individual for the purpose of implicating or incriminating the person, or imputing the commission of any violation of the law.’
“If the person found guilty under the new law is a public officer or employee, such person shall suffer the penalty of ‘reclusion perpetua,’” it also says.
‘Prision mayor’ in its maximum period means a jail term of from 10 years and one day to 12 years. On the other hand, ‘Reclusion perpetua’ means an imprisonment of from 20 years and one day to 40 years.