PNP stops centralized gun licensing after getting TRO

By Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 11 2014 05:36 PM | Updated as of Apr 12 2014 01:36 AM

MANILA - The Philippine National Police (PNP) will stop implementing a centralized system for gun licensing in the country now it has received the temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court.

The PNP said the office of the PNP chief received the official transmission of the TRO on Republic Act 10591 at 10:40 a.m. on Friday.

During a press conference, PNP Firearms and Explosives Office Director Chief Superintendent Louie Tiroy Oppus and Civil Service Group Chief Superindendent Melito Mabilin said their compliance with the TRO is effective immediately.

They said the 11 satellite offices that they had shut down nationwide will be reopened, and the personnel they had recalled to Manila will be sent back to the provinces.

The PNP was given 10 days to respond to the TRO.

Oppus refused to comment whether the TRO was a setback to the PNP's plans to cleanse the corrupt-ridden gun licensing and renewal process.

But in previous statements, PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima said that corruption, and fictitious documents and applicants came from these satellite offices.

Since the implementation of Oplan Katok, the PNP's initiative to check on current holders of licensed guns and ammunition, they have discovered at least 129,210 fictitious or questionable licenses.

Fake names, addresses and contact numbers were discovered.

The PNP said 98,118 or 75.9% of these were registered in satellite offices in the provinces.

The PNP said centralization was designed only as a temporary measure to "stop the bleeding" from irregularities outside.

Mabilin, however, said that while satellite offices will be reopened, they will be assigning a new batch of personnel to man the satellite renewal and application processing.

This, Mabilin said, is to weed out personnel found to have committed irregularities.

Oppus said he has removed 16 people in the course of cleansing the licensing process, including his own driver -- a police officer who was securing signatures for gun applications without authority to do so.

Oppus refused to name this driver.

Another modus of those corrupting the licensing process is the deliberate delay in processing, during which extortion money is demanded to expedite the process.

A public consultation on RA 10591 is currently being facilitated by the PNP. Invited are dealers and manufacturers of guns, ammunition, and explosives, as well as gun enthusiast groups.