Girl dies due to stray bullet; Malabon cop arrested for indiscriminate firing in separate incidents

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 1) — A 12-year-old child from Lanao del Norte died on New Year's Day after being hit by a stray bullet while playing outside her home past midnight, the Philippine National Police said on Friday.

PNP Spokesperson Ilderbrandi Usana said the police have yet to conduct an autopsy as the slug is still in the girl's head. He added it may be tough to trace the perpetrator if they used a loose firearm, but he vowed justice if the gun is registered.

"Kung registered ang firearm na ito, we will inform the public who the owner of the firearm is. Makakaasa po kayo kakasuhan namin ang tao," he said in a media briefing.

[Translation: If it's registered, we will inform the public as to who own the firearm. We will file charges.]

PNP also said a six-year-old boy from Santa Catalina, Negros Oriental and a man from Dagupan were injured by stray bullets.

In a separate incident, a policewoman from Malabon City was arrested for firing her PNP-issued firearm hours before the country rang in the New Year. Usana said neighbors reported hearing the gunfire from the home of Police Staff Sergeant Karen Borromeo.

"We assume na ang pagdidischarge niya illegally ng firearm is something personal to her. We didn't even expect na gagawa siya ng ganoong aksyon... Definitely she will be facing criminal and administrative sanctions," the spokesman said.

[Translation: We assume that what she did was something personal. We did not expect it to happen.]

Usana said this incident may be considered in the next New Year after the PNP skipped gun muzzle sealing as the world entered 2021.

The Department of Health reported at least 50 fireworks-related injuries from December 21, 2020 to January 1, 2021. This is 85% lower than the 340 total cases reported last year. It has yet to confirm the three cases of stray bullet incidents.