MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said Werfast Documentary Agency is no longer the official courier of gun licenses following complaints of inefficiency and overpricing of delivery fees.
Speaking to ANC's Headstart, PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) Director Louie Oppus said Werfast lost its accreditation as the official courier for gun licenses last Monday.
"Wala na po ang Werfast since Monday. Sila po ay umalis... As far as I know, nagpadala sila ng advice nung Monday...yung kanilang accreditation," he said.
He said that based on the letter they received, Werfast will just finish deliveries of gun licenses in their possession.
Meanwhile, the PNP is still looking for a new official courier.
Werfast has come under fire for delayed deliveries or non-delivery of licenses; non-issuance of official receipts; its reported use of LBC, another courier firm, and its high delivery charge.
Werfast bagged the delivery contract in May 25, 2011 even before the company was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Lawyer Rod Moreno, vice president of Gun Owners Against Congressional Tyranny, earlier said Werfast charges P190 courier fee for Metro Manila deliveries and P290 courier fee for provincial deliveries.
ProGun Philippines President Ernesto Tabujara said Werfast would sometimes deliver the licenses 3 to 5 months after the application, which is way past the one-month period for normal deliveries.
He said the deliveries are done during working hours, when the gun owner is usually not at home. Werfast would then claim that the address of the gun owner is fictitious.
"Under normal procedure like FedEx or other courier services, when they deliver a package and the person is not there, they leave a message that we tried to deliver this package. You can claim it. Here in Werfast, they say it is a fictitious address, which is wrong," he said in the same interview.
He also said there are pictures proving that the gun licenses were delivered by LBC, not Werfast.
PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima earlier defended Werfast's higher delivery fees, saying that the business needs to earn money.
"Negosyo yan e. Kung ikaw ay nag ne-negosyo, kailangan kumita ka. Am I right? Ngayon, yung sinasabi ninyong diskarte nila, I do not know because I am not Werfast. Ang importante lang sa akin ay makarating yung lisensya sa bahay at sa tamang tao," Purisima said.
An ABS-CBN News source had said Werfast is backed by Purisima.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records show that a certain Mario Juan, reportedly a close friend of Purisima, was among the original owners of Werfast.
Amended incorporation papers of Werfast show that the current president of the company is Ireno Bacolod, a retired police general. Bacolod, also the former head of CSG, allegedly has close ties with the PNP chief as well.
RENEWALS ALLOWED IN REGIONS
Purisima earlier ordered the closure of satellite offices of the Civil Security Group (CSG) tasked to process the licensing of firearms across the country.
This policy was implemented to ensure that the gun owners are really living in the addresses they indicated in their application forms.
However, Oppus said the centralized gun licensing is only temporary since the PNP is planning to do a caravan to help gun owners to renew their licenses.
He said the regional offices of the Firearms and Explosives Security Agency Group (FESAG) are still accepting renewal applications, which are then forwarded to Camp Crame.
Only first time applicants need to personally appear in Camp Crame, he said.
"Kung renewal, walang problema. Gagawin niya sa regional office. Ipapadala at we process at Crame," he said.
"Yung physical appearance po kung mag-a-apply tayo ng license and own firearms, eto yung bagong sistema sa bagong batas, because we are trying to cleanse the system," he added.
He also said gun license renewal can soon be done online.
Tabujara, meanwhile, supported the move to allow FESAG offices to process gun license renewal applications.
He said centralized gun licensing to include license renewal is a bad idea since gun owners all over the country have to go to Manila just to get their gun licenses.
"To make them make the trip all the way to Camp Crame just to get their gun licenses renewed is an added burden and unrealistic for all the gun owners who live in far-flung areas like Mindanao or Northern Luzon," he said.