THE Philippine National Police’s ongoing crackdown against violators of the country’s strict gun laws is sparing no one, even local government units and government-owned and controlled corporations which have failed to renew their licensed firearms, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
At present, the PNP headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde is studying the records of LGUs and GOCCs with firearms registered with the PNP Firearms and Explosives Division with concerned officials under instruction to formally communicate with the heads of the units to renew their gun licenses or face investigation.
Gen. Albayalde earlier told the Journal Group that police preparations to ensure a safe and secure 2019 mid-term polls have started a few months ago with all 17 police regional offices already ordered to launch measures that will prevent poll-related violence next year.
“Security for the 2019 polls actually started a few months back. I have already ordered all my regional directors to look at the security personnel of incumbent politicians and see to it that the maximum two bodyguards per politician under the so-called Alunan Doctrine will be observed to the hilt,” he said.
The PNP is strictly enforcing Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 as part of its effort to arrest the presence of illegal guns in the streets including those with expired licenses which could be used in the commission of crimes.
Even government employees and local barangay authorities are not exempted from the strict provisions of RA 10591, police officials said in the wake of allegations that some local government officials are themselves violating the tough gun law.
In the past the PNP has investigated a number of LGU officials found to be violating RA 10591 including some who were found to be in possession of firearms owned by their LGUs and should not be under their possession.
Police have also aired the possibility that some elected local government officials are being issued firearms owned by their provincial, city or municipal governments even though the law prohibits the practice. The practice is considered as illegal and a gross violation of RA 10591, officials explained.
RA 10591 states that any government employee and even barangay officials and their men who will be found carrying unlicensed guns while in the performance of their duties or outside their office will be immediately arrested and jailed by the police for violation of the law.
Section 30 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10591 states that the ‘penalty of prision mayor in its minimum to prision mayor in its medium period shall be imposed upon the owner, president, manager, director or other responsible officer of any public or private firm, company, corporation or entity who shall willfully or knowingly allow any of the firearms owned by such firm, company, corporation or entity to be used by any person or persons found guilty of violating the new law, or willfully or knowingly allow any of them to use unregistered firearms without any legal authority to be carried outside of their residence in the course of their employment.
The following penalties are stated under RA 10591: