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Alaminians laud PNP for recalling shot guns
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The Alaminos government finally got its wish but from an institution that should have had it in the first place.

Thanks to the gun ban being enforced by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) starting last Sunday, the 1, 300 shotguns that were distributed by the provincial government to the village chiefs in the province last year will be recalled by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Mayor Hernani A. Braganza and his citymates hailed the PNP Provincial Office for its laudable move citing that the recall only implies one thing-that Gov. Amado Espino’s shotgun program was wrong.

“It (recall) was perfectly timed but they should have done it earlier to save their face,” said Braganza of the P 30 M worth of pump shot guns purchased by the Pangasinan government.

Nevertheless, this is a welcome development,” stressed the mayor adding that the recall might have prevented gun-related shooting incidents involving barangay leaders in the past.

We are hoping that these guns will finally end up on the hands of our lawmen for good who badly needed it to maintain peace and order in our province,” he added.

The recall, according to most political pundits in the province had vindicated Braganza, who was the first chief executive to oppose the arming of barangay leaders believing that the pump shotguns worth P 30 M will do more harm than good to his provincemates.

He signed SP Resolution No. 2008-113 to echo the sentiments of concerned Alaminians who were against the purchase and distribution of shot guns to local officials.

The resolution which also urged the provincial government to issue instead the shotguns to the PNP has been forwarded to the Office of the Governor.

But the provincial government didn’t bother to reply and worst, it totally disregarded the appeal of the Alaminos government and its people prompting one local newspaper editor to entitle his column “A Scary Scenario”.

The governor had successfully convinced fifteen of the city’s 39 barangay captains to receive the shot guns despite the city’s stern warning that having it has a high price.

The city government then conducted a press conference to express Alaminos’ strong objection to this shot gun program and push for an immediate recall.

“Alaminos is not a war zone and so is Pangasinan," even declared Mayor Braganza in a press statement. "In fact, it is one of the most peaceful places in the province if not in the whole region since we stopped all illegal activities in the city in 2004. "

The mayor cited several events in the past wherein shot guns issued to barangay captains were used to commit crimes.

A resident of the city was shot dead in 2007 during a heated argument allegedly by a captain of Bani using a .45 caliber pistol issued by a congressman.

And ironically, few months after the shotguns were release to some Alaminos chieftains, the son of barangay chairwoman of Landoc accidentally shot and almost killed his friend.

Also last year, in Mangaldan town, a father complained that a barangay captain struck him with a shotgun.

Just recently, a chieftain in Labrador had assaulted a prosecutor of RTC using the shot gun that was given by the governor.

There were other reports that the shot guns were used to intimidate the local residents particularly the political rivals of the gun holders.

And if it wasn’t recalled now, more incidents like this will be docketed in the police blotters.

According to Dante Jimenez, chairman of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), the shotguns were issued to barangay executives using only memorandum receipts.
 
Jimenez, who has here last year and had thrown his support to the city government, has called for an investigation into the distribution of shot guns to civilians.

Depending on who wins the gubernatorial post this May, the Alaminos government will continue to fight for what is right and that is the policemen, who where trained extensively on law enforcement, must possess the shot guns.

If it is 2nd district congressman and former governor Victor Agbayani, a close ally of Braganza, the peace-loving Pangasinenses will have all the reasons to rejoice and be happy this year and beyond. (CIO)