Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bullet-Planting at NAIA: The Law on Possession of Ammunition

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net


President Aquino has ordered an investigation into the “tanim bala” racket that extorts money from passengers at the country's premier international gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Social media has exploded with reports and comments on planting of bullets allegedly by unscrupulous airport staff into the bags of unsuspecting passengers in order to extort money from them.

In reaction to these recent spate of bullet planting complaints, Senator Raplh Recto has asked for a review of the law on illegal possession of ammunition and wants the change the penalty for for illegal possession of ammunition – prision mayor, from 6 years and 1 day to 12 years. He described the current penalty as too harsh for a single bullet.

http://www.freeimages.com

Under Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, it is illegal to possess even a single ammunition without a license. An ammunition is refered to as a complete unfixed unit consisting of a bullet, gunpowder, cartridge case and primer or loaded shell for use in any firearm. The minimum qualification to acquire a license to own and possess a firearm and/or ammunition is Filipino citizenship, at least 21 years old and gainful work, occupation or business.

The penalty of prision mayor (6 years and 1 day to 12 years) in its medium period shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully acquire or possess ammunition for a Class-A light weapon. The penalty of prision mayor in its maximum period shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully acquire or possess ammunition for a Class-B light weapon.

As shown in the numerous reported cases of "tanim bala" extortion incidents at the airport, this law on possession of ammunition has been abused by corrupt airport staff and their principals. Granting there is no bullet planting and indeed a passenger is caught in possession of a single bullet or two, the most commonsensical solution is to confiscate the prohibited item and let the passenger go.

However the law on firearm and ammunition has given an excuse for unscrupulous airport staff to arrest "erring" passengers and demand money from them in exchange for letting them off the hook. Thanks to social media this alleged extortion has been exposed!

While an investigation into this alleged scheme by airport personnel is a positive step, the long-term solution is to revise the law and decriminalize possession of ammunition in negligible quantity. A single bullet or two should not make a person a criminal. In California, possession of live ammunition is legal but with specific exceptions, among them by insane persons, by those under age 18, by convicts and by those under probation.

I say we should revise our gun and ammunition laws and adopt the same regulations as that of California's. That way, we can permanently avoid this embarrassing and appalling "tanim bala" extortion scheme in our primary airport.

Disclaimer

The articles in this blog are the writer's own opinion, views or report of facts, AND SHOULD NOT SUBSTITUTE for official documents or issuances, or the advice of an independent and competent legal counsel. We do not warrant the accuracy and suitability of these articles for whatever purpose you may have in copying them. Thank you.

Privacy Policy

This privacy policy tells you how we use personal information collected at this site. Please read this privacy policy before using the site or submitting any personal information. By using the site, you accept the practices described here.

Collection of Information
We collect personally identifiable information, like names, email addresses, etc., when voluntarily submitted by our visitors. The information you provide is used to fulfill your specific request, unless you give us permission to use it in another manner, for example, to add you to one of our mailing lists.

Cookie/Tracking Technology
Our site may use cookies and tracking technology which are useful for gathering information such as browser type and operating system, tracking the number of visitors to the site, and understanding how visitors use the Site. Personal information cannot be collected via cookies and other tracking technology, however, if you previously provided personally identifiable information, cookies may be tied to such information. Third parties such as our advertisers may also use cookies to collect information in the course of serving ads to you. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer.

Distribution of Information
We do not share your personally identifiable information to any third party for marketing purposes. However, we may share information with governmental agencies or other companies assisting us in fraud prevention or investigation. We may do so when: (1) permitted or required by law; or, (2) trying to protect against or prevent actual or potential fraud or unauthorized transactions; or, (3) investigating fraud which has already taken place.

Commitment to Data Security
Your personally identifiable information is kept secure. Only authorized staff of this site (who have agreed to keep information secure and confidential) have access to this information. All emails and newsletters from this site allow you to opt out of further mailings.

Privacy Contact Information
If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about our privacy policy you may contact us by email at barops@gmail.com.

We reserve the right to make changes to this policy. You are encouraged to review the privacy policy whenever you visit the site to make sure that you understand how any personal information you provide will be used.