mga sir share ko lng a good read. a new lesson for me also. Rama: The gun ban and jurisprudence By Karlon N. Rama HOW useless is the gun ban? Dont ask me. My bias on the subject is, by now, public knowledge. Lets ask the Supreme Court (SC), the final arbiter of all legal questions, and hope everybody is illuminated. In a ruling dated Aug. 13, 2008, the SC First Division junked the illegal possession of firearms case filed against a man arrested 10 years ago, during the gun ban the Comelec imposed relative to the national and local elections in May 1998. It reversed the conviction of one Igmidio Madrigal before the Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals and cancelled his imprisonment which would have lasted between two years, 11 months and 10 days, minimum, to five years, four months and 20 days, maximum, plus a P15,000 fine. Madrigal was arrested on March 31, 1998 in San Pedro, Laguna. He was caught having a paltik .38 revolver with five rounds and an empty cartridge. The High Court, in the resolution penned by Justice Renato Corona and bearing the concurrence of Chief Justice Reynato Puno, said Madrigal could not be held liable, not for illegal possession of firearm anyway. This, the Supreme Court explained, is because a person can only be charged with violations of Republic Act (RA) 8294, which penalizes the illegal possession of a firearm, if no other crime has been committed. And since the Comelec gun ban is enforced via a resolution which has the function of a law, the violation of which is therefore a crime, anybody arrested and charged for violating the gun ban cannot be charged with illegal possession, even if he were caught with the biggest, baddest bazooka this side of the planet. The funny thing is, the resolution enforcing the gun ban offers a lower penalty--one year as minimum to three years as maximum--than RA 8294, which provides penalties of up to six years if the gun illegally possessed is low-powered and up to 12 years if the gun his high-powered. The gun ban, therefore, makes it easier, not harder, for criminals to carry a gun outside of their homes. If they get caught, they only serve three years. Does anybody realize how ridiculous this situation is? Without the ban the penalty imposed on a person convicted for possessing an unlicensed firearm is harsher than when there is one. The gun ban, therefore, encourages criminals into carrying their illegal firearms. But the effect among lawful firearm owners is different, however. Yes, a license holder caught violating the prohibition cant also get convicted for violating RA 8249, but he can get into a lot of trouble administratively. An administrative proceeding targets the license and, if a conviction is handed down, the firearm license of the person concerned might get revoked. This makes the persons ownership of his existing firearms illegal and that, to a license holder, is a fate worse than death. Well, not quite, but close enough. This is why no license holder would, in his right mind, chose to willfully violate the gun ban, even if no less than the Supreme Court has pointed out how worthless it actually is. This, in turn, leaves criminals with the opportunity to attack and attack with impunity. The Philippine National Police (PNP) has claimed to have arrested 892 people for gun ban violations nationwide from Jan. 10 to Feb. 15. In Cebu City, one has been convicted--Angie Arceda, who was arrested last Feb. 8 with a .38 paltik revolver, much like the one Madrigal was caught with. Judge Silvestre Maamo sentenced Arceda to two years at the Cebu City Jail. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 15, 2010.