Remember those arrogant gun-toting monkeys who terrorized journalists, well they've been rounded up. They just gave anti-gun groups another straw against peaceful gun-owners. Quiapo shooting: Boys just wanna have fun By Evelyn Macairan The Philippine Star 04/15/2005 Gun-wielding men who allegedly fired off several rounds during a press conference at the Islamic Center in Quiapo, Manila last Tuesday told Mayor Lito Atienza their actions were "all in the spirit of fun." Chief Superintendent Pedro Bulaong, Western Police District (WPD) director, presented the three men Hadji Ali Lucman, 42, businessman; Weng Macabato, 26, driver; and Hadji Malik Lucman, 45, businessman to the Manila mayor yesterday morning. All are residents of No. 41-648 C. Palanca st. in San Miguel, Manila. Charges of illegal possession of firearms and alarm and scandal were filed against the suspects with the Manila City Prosecutors Office, while Barangay 648-67 Chairwoman Bae Norhaina Lucman and her husband Macacuna, a former police officer connected with the National Capital Region Police Office, were also charged with direct participation. The suspects explanation? "Napagkatuwaan lang naming magpaputok (We were only amusing ourselves by firing)," according to Macabato. The WPD said Hadji Ali was reportedly armed with a caliber .45 pistol while Macabato was in possession of an M-16 Armalite rifle. Investigators had yet to determine if Hadji Malik was also carrying a firearm during the incident. Macabato told the Mayor he was walking along Palanca Street when a certain "Sonny" lent him the M-16 Armalite and the two suspects began to play around with the weapon. "May kumuhang iba nung, baril ewan ko kung sino (Someone else got the gun, but I dont know who)," Macabato added. The suspects denied that anyone had instructed them to fire the weapons in the vicinity of the press conference, and they denied having any knowledge of the media event called by Datu Amerol Gulam-Ambiong, chairman of the National Muslim Peace and Order Council (NMPOC) at the nearby mosque. But the explanation didnt convince Atienza, who scolded the suspects and vowed that journalists would be protected and safe at such events. He added the suspects actions had tainted the Muslim community. Reporters were surprised when all three suspects made bail of about P90,000 each, fearing they might seek revenge against journalists covering the Islamic Center. Macabatos claim that they would not harm reporters as long as they asked permission from them first before visiting the Islamic Center also drew howls of protest from attending journalists. Atienza reprimanded Macabato for his comments, saying journalists are free to attend press conferences, with or without their permission. Bulaong, for his part, said they would continue to monitor reports of loose firearms in Quiapo and locate the owner of the M-16 rifle allegedly lent to Macabato. He added that Quiapo is generally a safe place, and last Tuesdays incident was an "isolated case." Gulam-Ambiong had called the press conference to denounce the comments by a US diplomat that Mindanao could become "the next Afghanistan" if peace and order did not prevail. Journalists and photographers invited to the press conference said they had been threatened and shoved out of the mosque by armed henchmen of Lucman and her husband, a retired colonel, because they had not sought permission to attend. Atienza earlier ordered separate investigations into the incident by the WPD and a city hall committee chaired by Secretary to the Mayor Emmanuel Sison.