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‘Robin Padilla Law’ needs context

There is no law officially called the “Robin Padilla Law,” but an existing law on illegal possession of firearms is informally known as such.

Senatorial aspirant Robina Padilla was referring to Republic Act No. 8294, a law that amended the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1866 and lowered the penalties imposed on illegal possession of firearms, as the “Robin Padilla Law” in a video posted on April 11 on Facebook.

He said:

Nung hindi pa po ako tumatakbong senador, nakagawa na po ako ng batas. Gusto ko pong ipaalam sa lahat na nagkaroon na tayo ng Robin Padilla Law kung saan po ay atin pong binago ang batas sa illegal possession of firearms (Even before I ran for Senate, I already made a law. I want everyone to know that we have a Robin Padilla Law where we amended the existing law on illegal possession of firearms).

Padilla has never been a legislator, but people like himself informally call RA 8294 as the “Robin Padilla Law” because he retroactively benefited from it and was granted conditional pardon by then President Fidel Ramos in 1998.

In his video, Padilla explained his participation in drafting the bill while in prison:

Nacall ko yung attention ni Senator Ramon Revilla tsaka ni Congressman Daza. Palitan kami ng sulat. Magpapadala sila ng sample na, kasi diba ganun naman pag gagawa ka ng (batas). So kami naman doon sa loob, titignan namin yung sample nga ‘no, magsusuggest naman kami, babalik namin sakanila hangga’t sa nagkaroon ng format ang bill. Naipasa, pinirmahan ng mga senador, pinirmahan ng mga congressman, dinala kay FVR, pumasa. At pinangalanang itong Robin Padilla Law (I called the attention of Senator Ramon Revilla and Congressman Daza. We exchanged letters. They sent us samples because that’s how you make a [law]. While in prison, we would look through the sample and suggest, then we would return it until there was a format for a bill. It was passed, signed by senators, signed by congressmen, sent to FVR and passed into law. It was named Robin Padilla Law).

FVR standas for Fidel V. Ramos.

In 1992, Padilla figured in a hit-and-run with a balut vendor. After being flagged down, he was found to have in possession unlicensed high-powered firearms with live ammunition.

The Supreme Court affirmed his 1994 conviction, but reduced his 21-year sentence to a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 18 years. He started serving time in 1995.

Previously, anyone found guilty of possessing illegal firearms faced 12 to 30 years imprisonment. RA 8294, which took effect in 1997, reduced the penalty from four to eight years with fines ranging from P15,000 to P30,000.

In 1998, after three years in prison, Padilla was granted pardon by Ramos.

Padilla ran as a vice governor of Nueva Ecija while behind bars in 1995 but lost. He joined PDP Laban last year and is running under its senatorial slate for the May elections.

As of April 27, the video has reached around 683,000 views, 64,000 reactions and 2,000 comments. (JV)


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