Bad day for ‘bullies’: Carabuena, Bantiles stripped of gun permitsBy Julie M. Aurelio, Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“Bullies” have no business owning a firearm, much less carrying one.
Two men who received a sound drubbing from netizens for the “less than gentlemanly” behavior they displayed in separate situations have been stripped of their gun licenses.
Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, chief of the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said on Thursday that the Licensing and Revocation Board had decided to cancel the firearm permits issued to Robert Blair Carabuena and Allan Bantiles.
With the revocation of their licenses, both men can no longer own or even carry guns. They also have 15 days to surrender their firearms to the nearest police station or the FEO.
Based on police records, Carabuena owns a 9 mm Steyr. Bantiles, on the other hand, has two firearms—a 9 mm Glock handgun (Model 19) and .45-cal. Colt Combat pistol.
The two men, however, can still appeal the FEO’s decision although according to Petrasanta, gun owners whose licenses have been revoked will find it doubly hard to get permission to rearm themselves.
“They have to be cleared first by the court. But even if they are exonerated, the FEO has the last say [on whether] they will be permitted to own guns again,” he said.
“We will be very careful in reviewing each appeal since they already have records of violating [the policies in owning firearms]. They have to justify their previous actions,” Petrasanta added.
Not a right
“Gun ownership is not a right but a privilege,” he stressed.
The PNP-FEO decision was the latest blow for Carabuena, a Philip Morris human resources manager who was videotaped beating up Saturnino Fabros, a traffic enforcer of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
The footage went viral after it was uploaded on the web, leading to him being widely criticized on social media networks.
“We revoked the gun license of Carabuena because of the complaint filed by the MMDA and the case filed against him in court,” Petrasanta told reporters.
On Wednesday, a charge of direct assault was filed against the Philip Morris official in the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court.
This was based on the recommendation made by Assistant City Prosecutor Victorino Badua Jr. who found probable cause to indict Carabuena.
Badua, however, dismissed the case filed against Carabuena’s brother, Robert Benjamin, for lack of evidence as he noted that the latter tried to stop his brother from hitting Fabros.
In a two-page resolution, the prosecutor said all the elements of the alleged crime appear to exist in the case.
“Respondent Robert Blair, without valid or justifiable cause, assaulted the complainant by striking his head using his own hat and slapping … his face. Second, complainant who is a traffic constable is an agent of a person in authority and when he was assaulted, [it] was in the performance of his official duty,” Badua said.
He recommended bail of P12,000 for Carabuena’s provisional liberty.
The charge stemmed from the complaint filed by Fabros who claimed that Carabuena assaulted him at 3:30 p.m. on August 11 as he was manning traffic at the intersection of Capitol Hills Drive and Tandang Sora Avenue in Quezon City.
Fabros claimed that he had signaled the driver of a green Volvo sedan (XCF 871), who later turned out to be Carabuena, to stop but the vehicle still moved forward.
When he approached the vehicle and tapped its hood, Fabros said Carabuena alighted from the Volvo, followed by his brother, and challenged him to a fight.
Unluckily for him, a crew of TV5’s “T3” captured the incident on video. Carabuena later apologized for his actions but Fabros decided to push through with the filing of the case against him.
Aside from the court case, Carabuena also faces the possibility of being banned from driving for life by the Land Transportation Office.
Bantiles, on the other hand, faces attempted murder, slander and slander by deed in the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office.
The charges were filed by Jaime Garcia, an 18-year-old-student of Colegio de San Agustin in Dasmariñas, Makati City, who claimed that the businessman slapped him, shook his shoulders, pointed a gun at his forehead and then threatened to shoot him.
This was an hour after Garcia reportedly hit Bantiles’ son Joshua in the face for bullying him.
The incident occurred on the school grounds on Aug. 30 and word about it first spread on social networking sites, earning brickbats for Bantiles and spurring authorities to take action.
Bantiles and his son, however, have denied Garcia’s allegations against them.
Petrasanta, meanwhile, said that this was the first complaint his office received against Bantiles. The petition to revoke Bantiles’ gun permits was filed yesterday by Garcia’s lawyer and approved by the PNP-FEO on the same day.
Sought for reaction, the lawyer of Allan Canete Bantiles, Richard Nethercott, said the gun owner has yet to be informed of the police decision to revoke his gun permits.
“If it’s true, there must be an investigation first. There is still no formal charge filed in court. A complaint [filed at the prosecutor’s office is] not tantamount to proof of the allegations made,” Nethercott told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
“I believe the PNP has procedures to follow in revoking gun licenses. It’s not automatic and normally, it won’t happen in one day,” the lawyer said.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the rector of Colegio de San Agustin, Fr. Horacio R. Rodriguez, assured the parents of students that everything at the school was “normal.”
“Your children are safe and well taken care of and there is no cause for alarm,” he said.
He added that school officials have taken the necessary steps and measures to prevent similar occurrences from happening again.—With Jeannette I. Andrade and Niña Calleja