Lawmaker wants harsher penalties for illegal possession of deadly weapons in public
MANILA, Philippines–A lawmaker is seeking harsher penalties for illegal possession in public of deadly weapons such as knives and bolos in a bid to deter crime and promote order and safety.
Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo cited the need to update a 36-year-old law on the possession of such offensive weapons and articles (not including firearms) to enable the state to protect and keep the people safe.
Under Presidential Decree No. 9, as amended by Batas Pambansa 6, possession of any bladed, pointed or blunt weapon outside one’s residence, such as a knife, spear, bolo, and the like, carries a penalty of a month to a year in jail, or a fine of P200 to P2,000, or both.
Romualdo, a vice chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, has filed House Bill 4897, or the proposed “Crime Prevention Act,” imposing greater penalties on the crime.
The bill provides that any person who, without legitimate purpose or lawful authority, carries an offensive weapon in any public place shall be imprisoned from three months to a year and be made to pay a fine of P10,000 to P20,000.
The penalty is greater if the offense is committed inside a school, healthcare facility, government office, port, airport, bus or railway station, on board public transportation, or at a public demonstration: one year to two years in jail and a fine of P20,000 to P30,000.
The bill provides that a minor above 15 years but below 18 years of age who shall unlawfully possess an offensive weapon or bladed or pointed article shall be presumed to have acted with discernment.
“It is believed that the proposal if enacted into law will significantly contribute to crime prevention and reduction, and develop safer and more peaceful communities,” Romualdo said in an explanatory note.
The bill is now pending at the committee on public order and safety chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer.
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