PNP vows to arrest those behind stray bullet incidents PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 January 2015 13:19

Philippine officials on Sunday vowed to arrest those behind the celebratory gunfire with stray bullets that killed an 11-year-old girl and wounded oseveral others during the New Year’s Eve revelry.

In a statement, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said they are confident of solving the cases involving stray bullets, which claimed the life of an 11-year-old girl in Abra province in Nothern Philippines and resulted in a number of injuries.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said they too are optimistic the PNP and the military will be able to arrest those behind the the New Yea’s Eve celebratory firing which happened despite repeated warning issued  days ahead of the Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Policemen nationwide had submitted their firearms for taping of the muzzles before the Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to prevent them from using it during revelries.

“According to the PNP there were still incidents though (the number) went down...They are not just investigating the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) or PNP personnel and they are confident that they will be able to find the suspects (in) the stray bullet incidents,” Valte told reporters in Manila.

Two years ago a seven-year-old died from a stray bullet during the New Year revelry in Caloocan City in Metro Manila The case remains unresolved.

“What they do now is they conduct slug matching so they can trace the origin and identify of the owner. So we are hoping that the efforts of the PNP will bear fruit,” Valte said.

Chief Supt. Mayor saidfour policemen, an Army soldier and four security guards were among 12 persons arrested for firing their guns in welcoming the New Year.

The PNP also started investigating other incidents of indiscriminate firing, for which four civilians had been arrested.

Mayor said on Saturday the number of people hit by stray bullets climbed to 59 —  17 in the National Capital Region (Metro Manila); 25 in Northern Philippines, 22 in central Philippines, 2 in southern Philippines

Observers noted a strangely lowest number of stray bullet cases in southern Philippines where firearms of different caliber abound from soldiers, policemen, insurgents and criminals.

This year’s cases is higher than the 30 stray bullet incidents recorded during the 2013 New Year’s Eve revelry.

Mayor said six police officers were arrested for illegally firing their guns during the New Year celeberation.

Police are PO1 Joy Velasco indiscriminate firing in notherrn Mindanao  and PO2 Mark Anthony Ballesteros in Tondo, Manila.

Local officials and private groups have put up a reward for the arrest of the gunman that killed 11-year-old Jercy Decym Buenafe in Abra province.

Mayor said Velasco and the other arrested police officers are now facing administrative charges and a complaint for alarm and scandal. Other policemen, he said,  have also been relieved from their posts and have been placed on floating status pending the completion of an administrative investigation.

He said a final report on the number of indiscriminate firing incidents, as well as the victims of stray bullets, would be released by the PNP next week.

Jercy’s father told local officials that the child was hit by a bullet while she was outside their home to welcome the new year.

The girl was playing with a friend when she suddenly fainted and fell to the ground. She died around 3 a.m. Saturday.

Investigators said the bullet came from a .45 caliber pistol. In Caloocan City Maybelle Lou Juanitas, 13, was walking along a street when a stray bullet hit the left side of her head an hour before the New Year.

Thinking the injury was caused by a rock thrown at them, Maybelle Lou’s cousins – who were with her at the time of the incident – brought her to her aunt’s home where she was staying during the holidays.

Elvira Suan, Maybelle Lou’s aunt, said they decided to bring the Grade 7 student to the nearby Dr. Jose Rodriguez Memorial Hospital (Tala Hospital) as she was experiencing nausea and vomiting.