Gatchalian seeks stiffer penalties vs indiscriminate gunfire | Inquirer News

Gatchalian seeks stiffer penalties vs indiscriminate gunfire

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 05:41 PM January 03, 2017

36945599 - hand in jail


MANILA — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has called for stiffer penalties against gun owners who would indiscriminately discharge their firearms as he expressed sadness over the wounding of a 15-year-old in Caloocan City, now in critical condition after a stray bullet hit her in the head during the New Year revelry.

Through Senate Bill No. 1008 filed months ahead of the holidays, Gatchalian is seeking to impose longer jail terms against irresponsible gun owners. His proposal includes the imposition of the maximum penalty of up to 40 years in cases where an illegal firearms discharge results in death.


“I am so sad that this happened again to an innocent girl. Walang kalaban-laban itong bata (She was defenseless). How are we all supposed to feel safe every New Year revelry if these things happen?,” Gatchalian told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a text message on Tuesday.


He recalled how he went to visit the family of Stephanie Nicole Ella on New Year in 2013 after a stray bullet killed the 7-year-old amid the celebration. The shooter has yet to be identified to this day.

“I remember a young girl from Caloocan also died because of indiscriminate firing a few years (ago). I personally went to visit that girl and her family, kawawa talaga (they’re pitiful),” said Gatchalian, who was at the time mayor of neighboring Valenzuela City.

Gatchalian’s proposal seeks to amend Act No. 3815 of the Revised Penal Code punishing an individual found guilty of discharging a firearm with the maximum penalty (imprisonment of six years ) under prision correccional, from the current “minimum and medium periods” starting from six months and one day in jail.

The proposal also hopes to impose a specific penalty against law enforcers or soldiers who would discharge their firearms, mandating the maximum jail time under reclusion temporal, equivalent to 20 years behind bars.

Any firearm discharge that results in death shall be punished by reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years in jail, per Gatchalian’s bill filed in August last year.

A parallel proposal carrying similar amendments was also separately filed by Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito around the same time last year. He could not be reached for comment.


Apart from bolstering the law, Gatchalian proposed other measures, including enhancing the Philippine National Police’s database of firearms and ammunition, which could lead to better tracing of weapons and bullets involved in a crime amid the proliferation of unlicensed firearms across the country.

“I filed a SB (Senate Bill) No. 1008 to provide stiffer penalties for indiscriminate firing from just merely alarms and scandal. But we need to implement other reforms to eliminate indiscriminate firing. Completely automate lthe database for firearms and bullets,” he said.

He also cited his pending bill seeking a ban on firecrakers, saying such prohibition “will also eliminate this (illegal discharge of firearms).”

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Apart from the incident in Caloocan, at least two other cases of indiscriminate firing were recorded during the New Year celebration, one involving a soldier who fired his .45-pistol in Dingras, Ilocos Norte, and another where a drunk cop fired a shot amid the revelry.  SFM/rga

TAGS: Crime, imprisonment, Justice, law, lawmakers, Legislation, Legislators, Senate, senators

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