“Elevate those guns a little lower.” — Andrew Jackson
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW JERSEY — We laud Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronaldo “Bato” Dela Rosa for finally breaking the usual practice of sealing off policemen’s guns ahead of the New Year festivities.
We were among those in the media who criticized the move, which was the brainchild of past PNP leadership starting during the time of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada.
We considered the order as “unnecessary” and “suicidal.”
When the guns of our lawmen were sealed off, they could not respond to emergency cases or crimes. They would be like sitting ducks if armed criminals or terrorists attacked them vice versa.
The purpose of sealing off their guns was to prevent them from firing indiscriminately during New Year celebration.
This was on top of the “stern” warning from the PNP hierarchy that they would be dealt with accordingly if they used their guns to celebrate New Year.
Stern or whatever warning is also not necessary for professional cops or military men. Only scalawags and bad eggs will disobey and ignore lawful orders.
Each year since the order was made, reports showed that many innocent civilians, some of them children, were injured and killed after being hit by stray bullets fired during the New Year’s eve.
Either the stray bullets came from the firearms of some rogue cops or undisciplined military personnel who ignored the order from their higher command, or from the guns of trigger-happy civilians.
There are many loose firearms in the hands of drunken maniacs who don’t give a hoot if innocent bystanders and children are injured or killed as long as they will fire these guns during the New Year revelry.
Police should double their efforts to round them up as preventive measure. There should be no ifs and buts for those caught in possession of these unlicensed guns.
There should be no exemptions. No padrino or political considerations. No palakasan. No kumpare or kumare system.
Eliot Spitzer once said: “Yes, people pull the trigger – but guns are the instrument of death. Gun control is necessary, and delay means more death and horror.”
In fact, even without a New Year celebration or election gun ban, possession of loose firearms is illegal and punishable by imprisonment.
An ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure.