Are cops ready to seize Tulfo’s guns?

Erwin Tulfo & Oscar D. Albayalde

AFTER stripping the Tulfo brothers of their bodyguards, will the police be ready to raid Erwin Tulfo’s house now that his licensed firearms are already considered loose weapons after he failed to renew his License to Own and Possess Firearms or LTOFP?

This was the question raised yesterday after Philipine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde told a press conference at Camp Crame that police authorities would be “forced to take necessary action” if Erwin fails to surrender his firearms.

“We’ll be forced to undertake police action. Alam naman nila ‘yan. We’ve done that in several individuals already,” Albayalde said during a press briefing.

Since Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 was enacted and police implemented its vaunted Oplan: Katok in 2015, police have raided dozens of houses of gunholders with expired firearms licenses after they failed to have them renewed despite being told to do so.

According to PNP Firearms and Explosives Office director Brigadier General Valeriano T. de Leon, the radio broadcaster has not surrendered his guns yet despite the expiration of his LTOFP.

“Wala pa kami na-monitor na na-surrender ito. We served the letter personally tapos we sent an e-mail at saka meron pa kaming registered mail,” said de Leon although he added that they have not set a deadline for Tufo to yield his firearms for temporary safekeeping by the police.

According to Albayalde, Tulfo’s LTOPF expired on March 3. Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10591, an expired LTOFP means that the valid firearms’ license of an individual gunholder is considered null and void too.

Gen. Albayalde however emphasized anew they are not targeting Tulfo who figured in a controversy after he berated on-air retired Army chief-turned Department of Social Welfare and Development chief Rolando ‘Bote’ Bautista.

“Ang ine-emphasize namin dito, we’re not zeroing in on Mr. Erwin Tulfo. Ito po ay SOP para sa lahat. Hindi lang kay Mr. Tulfo o sa Tulfo brothers,” the PNP chief said.

Last week, the PNP ordered Tulfo to surrender his licensed guns to the PNP-FEO or the nearest police station for temporary safekeeping after it turned out that his LTOFP had expired already.

As part of its effort to account for loose firearms including those with expired licenses and LTOFP, the PNP has  launched a massive program which aims to persuade gunholders with expired licenses and LTOFPs to surrender their weapons to the nearest police station for temporary safekeeping until they have renewed their licenses.

As soon as the nationwide gun ban is lifted tomorrow, owners of the guns with expired licenses will have the chance to reclaim them from police custody as soon as they present proof that they have renewed their LTOFP and firearms’ licenses.