CRIMINAL elements seemingly took some time off to rest and repent during Pope Francis’ visit as the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported fewer crimes in Metro Manila over the weekend.
Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, PNP spokesman, said the police recorded only nine criminal incidents, mostly street crimes, in Metro Manila during the pontiff’s 24-hour stay in Metro Manila.
Mayor said the National Capital Region Police Office recorded two robbery cases; two theft cases; illegal possession of deadly weapons, and a case of violation of RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Law of 2013.
Meanwhile, the PNP officer-in-charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, reiterated over the weekend the prohibition against carrying of firearms in all areas where Pope Francis will visit.
Espina cited the case of a member of the Airport Police Department who is now facing criminal charges for carrying a gun along the route of Pope Francis’ entourage in front of the Domestic Airport Road in Pasay City on the day the pontiff arrived in Manila.
Espina said that Police Corporal Virgilio Perez yielded a 9mm pistol in his backpack when PNP security personnel frisked him.
Perez explained to policemen that he was on his way to report for duty at the airport.
“That is his excuse, but he will have to take responsibility for his unlawful action,” Espina said.
Espina cited provisions of the law saying, “firearms shall not be brought inside places of worship, public drinking and amusement places and all other commercial or public establishments.”
This provision, he said, applies to all gun holders including members of the PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and other law enforcement agencies in civilian attire, as well as gun holders with Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence privileges.
The case of Perez was among the nine separate crime incidents recorded by the PNP in Metro Manila over a 24-hour period from January 15 to 16.