Caloocan cops list 32 potential suspects in Nicole Ella’s death

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Stephanie Nicole Ella (second from left), her 5-year-old brother Ken and her cousins eagerly await New Year’s Eve outside their home in Caloocan City unaware that she would be hit by a stray bullet at midnight. Note date on photo at right. PHOTO COURTESY OF ELLA FAMILY

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities on Monday started inspecting the firearms of 32 potential suspects in the death of seven-year-old girl Stephanie Nicole Ella due to celebratory gunfire during the New Year, a police official said.

After narrowing down the list from 45 to 32, Superintendent Jackie Candelario, spokesperson for the Caloocan City police, told Radyo Inquirer 990AM in an interview that the gun owners were willing to cooperate and were requested to hand in their guns for inspection at the crime laboratory.

He said that the owners of .45 caliber pistols being considered as potential suspects are living within a 50-meter radius from Ella’s home.

Civilian guns for self-defense only

The death of Ella has sparked public criticism over lax gun control in the Philippines and the shooting rampage last Friday in Cavite fueled pressure for more assertive action by authorities to deal with unlicensed firearms.

At the Senate, Senator Panfilo Lacson said permits to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFOR) should no longer be issued to civilians so that their guns could only be used for self-defense.

“Firearms are for self-defense and protection of properties from intruders, and not for offensive action by the possessor,” he said in a statement Monday.

“While civilians may be allowed to possess firearms, the firearms should be kept in a vault inside the owners’ homes when left unattended,” he added.

Lacson joined the many who have been calling for stricter gun control after a string of violent deaths brought about by firearms.

“A lot of lives can be saved and a big positive impact on the country’s peace and order will be felt by the citizenry,” he said.

Senator Loren Legarda, the Roman Catholic Church, and non-government organization Gunless Society have all issued statements calling for stricter gun control in the country.

 

Sotto: No to total gun ban

But Senator Vicente Sotto III believes a total gun ban in the Philippines will not prevent the recent shooting rampage in Cavite from happening again.

“I believe that a total gun ban would not prevent a repeat of the bloodbath but would only exacerbate the already grave peace and order problem in our country,” Sotto said in a statement Monday.

“If we outlaw guns, then only the outlaws will have guns, as the saying goes. The citizenry will be at the mercy of the criminal elements with high-powered guns at their disposal,” he said.

Seven people were killed Friday when Ronald Bae went on a reportedly drug-fueled shooting rampage before himself being gunned down by police in Kawit, Cavite.

Sotto said that the calls for a total gun ban was just a “knee-jerk reaction to the western-style shooting rampage” that also left nine people injured.

“The carnage in Cavite is already tragic in itself; it would be more tragic if we disarm responsible gun holders whose only aim in possessing guns is to protect themselves from criminal elements,” Sotto said.

He blamed the government’s failure to apprehend Bae for his reported drug trafficking in the locality.

“What happened in Cavite is a reminder that despite all the laws that we have passed, our anti-drug campaign is not making much headway,” Sotto said.

“According to reports, Bae was a known drug trader in the locality and his house in Kawit was openly used as distribution center for illegal drugs. The question is: Why was Bae not apprehended for illegal drug trafficking so that carnage could have been prevented?” he said.

Sotto said that the government should increase of the budget of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) so it could improve its operations instead of imposing a total gun ban.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • PaulynTayag

    ang maganda nyan maipatupad na ang guyn ban ni loren legarda ng sa gayon maiwasan ang ganyang pangyayari..

    • JenicaLee

      actually sangayon din ako sa gun ban!

  • tommyhilfinger

    I think we should have gun ban and let the guns be carried na lang by the police, i know Loren Legarda is working on gun ban, i’ll support that!

    • JamesCarag

      yeah i agree with that too.. kawawa naman ang mga inosenteng nabibiktima ng pagpapaputok ng baril..

    • RyanIlagan

      tama.. ok sakin yan..

    • JasperSycip

      kaya nga. kaya naman siguro ng pinas kahit walang baril baril na yan. diba?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rene-Martinez/100001007341473 Rene Martinez

    oks yan ban na yan para pati yabang ma bann na rin

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rene-Martinez/100001007341473 Rene Martinez

    Sa mga bansa na bann ang boga may crime ba na tulad nito??? D2 sa middle east wala kaming nabalitaan nabaril at namatay pwede nasaksak. Noong bata ako dahil walang may baril masyado bihirang may ballta dead by gun shot.

  • bantaybulee

    Ayan at least may lead na sila. Sana maimbistigahan na right away yan at para magbayad na kung sino man ang responsible sa pangyayari.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LDFCZDMT47EJRAXK4MDK5LPAEI Marjorie

    Yeah, i think our country will do much better without guns.

    • JasperSycip

      Agree ako sayo.

  • JasperSycip

    pwede ba natin gawing leksyon ang mga pangyayari nung nakaraan taon at sakayung sa cavite. It shows na marame ang irresposableng humahawak ng baril. I ban na yan

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