Bill penalizing willful, indiscriminate discharge of firearms hurdles Senate

Bill penalizing willful, indiscriminate discharge of firearms hurdles Senate

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — The Senate on Thursday passed on final reading a proposed measure seeking to penalize willful and indiscriminate discharge of firearms including those authorized to bear arms.

Sponsored by Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, chairperson of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2501 or an Act Penalizing Wilful and Indiscriminate discharge of firearms, amending Act no. 3815, or the Revised Penal Code was approved on third reading with 21 affirmative votes, zero negative votes and no abstention.

“Despite the various provisions under the Revised Penal Code penalizing illegal discharge of firearms, offenders are not deterred in the commission of the crime. As such, there is a need to introduce a more severe punishment to thwart the occurrence of these incidents,” Dela Rosa said during his sponsorship of the bill.

Paragraph B, Section 2 of SBN 2501 states that “Any person who shall willfully and indiscriminately discharge any firearms or other device that may not have been designed as firearms but can be functionally used as a firearm shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period unless the facts of the case can be held to constitute any other offenses of which a higher penalty is prescribed.”

The bill also imposes a penalty to offenders who are members of the military, military auxiliary agencies, or law enforcement agencies authorized to bear arms who may be charged administratively.

SBN 2501 also calls for the immediate cancellation and revocation of any license or permit granted to the offender and perpetual disqualification of the offender from being granted such.

“As a former police officer and a responsible gun enthusiast and advocate, the matter of gun ownership and control is very important to me. It is my fervent hope, that this proposed measure will be a significant help in order to dissuade the arbitrary, reckless and indiscriminate use of firearms, and promote responsible gun ownership,” Dela Rosa said.

The Investigation and Detective Management of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in its case monitoring dated November 29, 2021 cited a total of 195 cases of indiscriminate firing in the country from 2016 to 2021.

Topping the list was Region IV-A or Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon (CALABARZON) with 30 incidents, while the National Capital Region has 23 incidents. In all these incidents, 18 were committed by the members of the PNP and eight by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

In a manifestation after the passage of the bill on third reading, the former top cop said, “I am grateful to everyone in this august body who have seen the significance of this measure – a measure that protects and gives importance to the lives of every Filipino. Mr. President, on behalf of the Filipinos who believe in the peaceful Philippines, I thank this august body.”

SBN 2501 is a consolidation of SBN 722 filed by Sen. Win Gatchalian and SBN 1531 filed by Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., taking into consideration House Bill No. 6123, which was passed on the third and final reading by the House of Representatives. (ai/mtvn)

Leave a Reply