Press Release
February 2, 2022

Sponsorship Speech
Committee Report No. 580

Thank you, Mr. President, Majority Leader.

Mr. President, esteemed colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

As Chairman of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, it is my honor to report back to this august body Senate Bill No. 2501under Committee Report No. 580or the Act Penalizing Willful and Indiscriminate Discharge of Firearms, amending Act No. 3815 or the Revised Penal Code authored by Senators Gatchalian, Revilla, Gordon, Lapid and this representation. This is in substitution of Senate Bill Nos. 722 and 1531 filed by Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Ramon Revilla, Jr., and taking into consideration House Bill No. 6123.

Mr. President, time and again we hear news involving deaths and injuries of victims of stray bullets, despite the continued campaigns of the government against indiscriminate firing. Ilan sa mga biktima ay mga bata, walang kamalay-malay at walang kalaban-laban. Tunay na walang pinipili ang ligaw na bala.

From where I came from, civilians are often caught in the crossfire of not just bullets but political ideologies. However, I will never comprehend those who fire their weapons with no specific and valid cause. Hindi po ito katanggap-tanggap. Every time you hold a gun, you are given a responsibility and a choice.

On April 17,2021, two policemen from the Manila Police District Community Precinct and the National Capital Region Police Office were arrested for alleged indiscriminate firing of their service firearms in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija.[1]Subsequently, in June 2021, a member of the Philippine Army was also arrested for indiscriminate firing in Naga City.[2]

Kamakailan lang, ilang araw bago ang araw ng Pasko, isang pamilya na naman ang nagluksa dahil sa pagkamatay ng isang taong gulang na sanggol sa Negros Occidental. Sinong mag-aakala na habang nasa loob ng bahay kasama ng kanyang lolo at lola ang bata ay tatamaan ito ng ligaw na bala?[3]Mr. President, wala nang mas sasakit pa para sa isang magulang na mawalan ng anak. Parents are not supposed to bury their children.

According to the case monitoring of the Investigation and Detective Management of the Philippine National Police, as of November 29, 2021, there were a total of 195 cases of indiscriminate firing in the country covering the period of 2016 to 2021. CALABARZON was on top of the list with 30 incidents, while the National Capital Region has 23 incidents.[4]In all these incidents, 18 were committed by the members of the Philippine National Police and 8 by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

We condemn these senseless incidents of injuries and loss of innocent lives because of reckless, careless and negligent use and handling of firearms.

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.

Mr. President, it must be emphasized that the right to bear arms in our jurisdiction is not a natural, absolute nor a constitutional right, but a privilege bestowed by the State upon those who possess and continue to possess the qualifications required by law. This has been reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the string of cases, particularly in the case of Chavez vs. Romulo[5]and the recent case of Acosta vs. Ochoa[6]. What others forget is the great responsibility that comes with the owning and carrying of firearms. The State has all the right to regulate and control the use and bearing of all kinds of firearms, in light of the policiesof the State to maintain peace and order in our communities.

Our government's effort to regulate the use of firearms has been relentless. Our laws have been crafted to minimize the use of firearms outside of the official duty or only if there are threats against its lawful owners or possessors. The framers of our laws on gun control and responsible gun ownership seem to have foreseen that not all persons should be entitled to bear arms.

The laws of our land recognize the dangers brought about by unlawful use of firearms. We have Alarms and Scandals under Article 155 of the Revised Penal Code; Illegal Discharge of Firearms under Article 254 of the same code; Attempted or Frustrated Homicide or murder, as the case may be; Physical Injuries and Grave coercion may also be committed; and of course, if using unlicensed firearm, Illegal possession of firearm under Republic Act No. 10591. However, these laws should be supplemented by another piece of legislation focusing on the intent of the offender.

For these reasons, the proposed measure seeks to penalize the willful and indiscriminate discharge of any firearm in any place. The bill also provides a higher penalty in cases where the offender is a member of the military, military auxiliary agencies, or law enforcement agencies authorized to bear arms. And finally, in order to further strengthen the measure, an additional penalty of 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, Mr. President, 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.

Mr. President, for more peaceful and safer communities, for us and for our families, I implore this august body for the swift approval of this measure.

Maraming salamat po.





[4]Data submitted by the DIDM - PNP to the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, November 29, 2021.

[5]G.R. No. 157036

[6]G.R. No. 211559

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