Firearms license delivery firm scored for exorbitant fees

From an exclusive report by Anthony Taberna, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 06 2014 12:09 PM | Updated as of Mar 06 2014 08:09 PM


MANILA – Private gun owners are criticizing a courier service firm, which earlier bagged a five-year contract with the Philippine National Police (PNP) to deliver licenses around the country.

Lawyer Rod Moreno, vice president of Gun Owners Against Congressional Tyranny, said the P190 courier fee for Metro Manila and P290 for the provinces being asked by Werfast Documentary Agency are exorbitant.

"There are about a million registered firearms holders, about a million licensed cards at least… I understand it's about P190 that is paid by the PNP to the courier service, so we're talking here upwards of 500 million pesos," Moreno told ABS-CBN News.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima earlier ordered the closure of satellite offices of the Civil Security Group (CSG) tasked to process the licensing of firearms across the country.

In a memorandum obtained by ABS-CBN, the offices were locked down because of a new licensing system in place.

PNP Public Information Office head Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac said there were anomalies reported from the CSG's satellite offices.

Gun owners will now have to troop to the PNP's headquarters in Camp Crame for license renewal and other processes, while their license cards will be delivered by Werfast to their respective homes.

This policy was implemented to ensure that the gun owners are really living in the addresses they indicated in their application forms.

Chief Superintendent Raul D. Petrasanta, former chief of the PNP's Firearms and Explosives Office, had called the attention of Werfast after he found out that the firm was merely using the service of another courier firm, LBC, to deliver the license cards.

Petrasanta had also pointed out the complaints of delays in delivery or non-delivery of license cards.

He threatened to revoke the contract with Werfast, but was later removed from office and replaced by Chief Supt. Louie Tiroy Oppus.

Close ties with PNP chief?

An ABS-CBN News source, meanwhile, 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.

ABS-CBN News tried to reach Werfast for comment but no one was available to speak in behalf of the company. Ireno, on the other hand, was also not answering calls.