Step up gun ban, police, TFZ urged PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 14:58

The City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) has asked the City Police Office and the military’s Task Force Zamboanga to maximize the implementation of the gun ban in the city in a bid to curb shooting incidents.

The CPOC, chaired by Mayor Celso Lobregat convened Saturday to discuss various issues such as shooting incidents where the group urged police and military authorities present to double efforts in enforcing the firearms ban in all parts of the city.

In a lengthy discussion about the issue, the CPOC membership focused on various issues and factors that contribute to unabated shooting incidents. One issue tackled was the proliferation of loose firearms and there was even a proposal for the suspension of permit to carry firearms but apparently, the group thought it will not solve the problem as many of the firearms used by perpetrators are unlicensed.

“We have asked both the Task Force Zamboanga and the City Police to really try to enforce the gun ban to the limit, to make sure that anybody seen with firearms is questioned as to whether it is a legitimate firearm and if there is a permit to carry or not”, Lobregat recounted in a press briefing after the meeting at the City Hall conference room on Saturday.

The CPOC membership also looked at the individual incidents of shooting that transpired in the city the past months taking into consideration the progress of the case, the suspects, motive, relation to other incidents and numerous other factors.

Lobregat lamented that in certain shooting incidents, when suspects are arrested—the suspect or suspects and the victim or victims and relatives settle the problem among themselves ultimately leaving authorities with no witnesses and no aggrieved party or parties to file charges in court.

In cases of settling cases, appeals are made for feuding groups not to take law into their own hands, however Lobregat said “instead of not only taking the law into their own hands, they take justice into their own hands”.

Such instances, according to the mayor, aggravate the situation as the ones concerned are of the opinion that they can just pay their way through. “So again the justice system is being tested here, not only the police but even the justice system”.

City Police OIC Director Sr. Supt. James Mejia in the same press briefing concurred Lobregat’s statement although he stressed that the authorities can pursue the case for as long as the scientific or forensic evidences are available.

“Pero kung nagkabayaran ang family ng victim or the witness at ang naarestong suspect, nasettle nga yong kaso but yong statistics kasama pa rin. So pag release ng suspects then iisipin nila kasi puede na nila gawin ulit at kung mahuli man, babayaran na lang”, Mejia said.

Nevertheless, the City Police OIC Director said the authorities are undertaking all possible steps to curb shooting and other crime incidents through visibility patrols, intensified checkpoints and numerous other strategies.

He likewise emphasized that the support and cooperation of the public is a must to help maintain peace and tranquillity in the city.

The CPOC also tackled other pressing issues such as the abduction of Flordeliza Ongchua in Labuan last November 13, the Aman Futures Philippines Inc. scam and other concerns.

The executive meeting was attended by majority of the members to include Councilor Jaime Cabato, City Police OIC Director Sr. Supt. James Mejia, Task Force Zamboanga Chief Col. Glen Macaser, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Regional Director  Adzhar Albani, City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr., Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. president Pocholo Soliven, concerned barangay chairmen and numerous others. — Sheila Covarrubias