8 New Year’s Eve shooters’ viral video backfires
NARVACAN, Ilocos Sur—This is a story of bragging rights that backfired.
Acting on a Facebook post that went viral, the police on Monday filed a complaint for alarm and scandal against eight men who allegedly fired guns during the New Year’s Eve revelry at Barangay (village) San Antonio.
The eight were identified after one of them uploaded a video and photos on Facebook on Saturday showing all of them alternately firing an M-16 rifle and a .45-cal. pistol on New Year’s Eve.
Senior Supt. Nestor Felix, Ilocos Sur police director, said the complaints were lodged shortly before noon at the Narvacan Municipal Circuit Trial Court.
Felix said authorities were waiting for the court to issue arrest warrants before taking into custody Cezar Lutchina Funtanilla, R-Jay Cabana, Jumar Cabreros, Ian Christopher Calixterio, Russel Funtanilla, Geronimo Gomez, Philip Andrew Funtanilla and Mark Cabana.
Felix said the eight were still in town. “If they run away, then that will mean they are guilty,” he said. Policemen visited San Antonio on Saturday afternoon to investigate and identify the men on the video.
In a local radio interview on Monday, Darius Comiso, barangay chief of San Antonio, said the eight had not been seen in the community since Sunday night. The Inquirer learned that one of the men is the son of a policeman.
Felix said that while there were firecracker-related injuries in Ilocos Sur province, no one was reported hit by stray bullets during the New Year revelry.
“If everything is documented, they will be facing illegal possession of firearms, alarm and scandal, illegal discharge of firearms, among others,” Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, the Philippine National Police officer in charge, said in Manila.
The Ilocos Sur provincial police learned of the Facebook post from a concerned citizen, who saw the video being shared on the Facebook group Philippine Gun Community.
The citizen also attached a copy of the video, a screen shot of the Drew Lutchina account, and the uploaded photographs of the men firing their guns at the height of the New Year revelry.
The incriminating posts appeared to have been taken down on Sunday, or two days after it was posted on Jan. 1.
The Facebook post went viral and caught the ire of several netizens, who criticized the men for firing their guns at the height of the New Year revelry.
The Narvacan police station is also determining the ownership of the firearms and if the men are licensed gun holders by verifying with the Firearms and Explosives Office.
Meanwhile, the number of stray bullet incidents has gone up to 62 as of Monday morning, 18 of which were reported in Metro Manila, according to the PNP.
Of the 44 injured victims, 14 were reported in Metro Manila. Aside from the death of a girl in the Cordillera due to a stray bullet, there have been no cases of deaths so far.
The PNP has recorded 24 cases of illegal discharge of firearms, with 17 people including seven policemen arrested.
In addition, there were 115 people injured due to firecracker-related incidents, while 57 have been arrested so far for selling illegal firecrackers.–With reports from Leoncio Balbin Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon, and Julie M. Aurelio in Manila