Dela Rosa to cops: Catch New Year firing suspects or else

Bea Cupin
Dela Rosa to cops: Catch New Year firing suspects or else
The PNP chief says cops can invoke the ‘hot pursuit’ doctrine when chasing down people suspected of illegally discharging firearms during the New Year

MANILA, Philippines – Catch careless shooters within 24 hours… or else.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Tuesday, December 27, announced a “zero tolerance” policy on indiscriminate shooting especially in the days leading up to the New Year revelry.

“I hope it is already the last time we are seeing these incidents of indiscriminate firing of guns and stray bullet casualties until the rest of the entire holiday season,” said Dela Rosa in a press conference, referring to 3 cases of injuries caused by stray-bullet incidents in Central Visayas and Central Mindanao during the holiday break so far.

Dela Rosa announced a new rule for commanders – should two subordinates fail to capture suspects within 24 hours, the boss gets sacked too.

“[If] suspects are not arrested within 24 hours, it shall be grounds for the immediate relief of the chief of police. Whenever two chiefs of police are relieved for the same incident, the respective provincial director will likewise be relieved. When two provincial directors are relieved, the regional director of the [police regional office] will be relieved,” he said.

Dela Rosa also ordered the 160,000-strong police force, to waive any leaves filed and to report to their home unit or any nearby police office between 5 pm of December 31 to 5 am of January 1. 

“If he or she hears a gunshot while on patrol and he or she knows that this barangay has a lot of firearms, a lot of people indiscriminately shoot here… they will conduct patrols there and if they hear a gun shot inside private homes, they should first knock on the doors. They shouldn’t break in right away. They should knock and make sure they’re in uniform, they have a police car,” explained Dela Rosa.

“If they’re not allowed inside, then invoke the doctrine of hot pursuit. Break in, jump, jump over, if they can’t break down the gate then jump over the fence to catch the suspect inside,” he added.

“Hot pursuit” in the PNP refers to the “immediate, recent chase or followup without material interval for the purpose of taking into custody any person wanted by virtue of a warrant, or one suspected to have committed a recent offense while fleeing from one police jurisdictional boundary to another that will normally require prior official inter-unit coordination but which the pursuing unit cannot, at that moment, comply due to the urgency of the situation.”

Police can arrest suspects without a warrant, after which the person will then undergo inquest proceedings.

“I may be far, I may be unable to go to you and beat you up but the law will catch up to you soon enough. I’ll remove you from service, file a case against you so cops who shoot their firearms during New Year, watch out. We’re the ones tasked to arrest, we shouldn’t be the ones being arrested. I’m telling you now, I will not relent,” he said. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.