MANILA (Mabuhay) – A consumer rights group criticized the Philippine National Police for insisting on the need for a courier service to deliver licenses to some 1.5 million gun owners in the country following the recent controversy involving its former service provider.
“Consumers are getting a double whammy from the PNP leadership by persecuting legitimate gun owners whose only fault is wanting to obey the laws,” Jaime Tagalog, secretary general of the Coalition of Filipino Consumers, said in a statement as he accused the PNP of being “more interested in making money instead of preventing crime and going after well armed criminals.”
Two organizations, Gun Owners in Action (GO Act) and Peaceful, Respondent Owners of Guns Inc. (PRO Gun), have filed petitions before the Supreme Court contesting provisions of Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act of 2013.
PRO Gun also claimed the PNP’s outsourcing the delivery of firearms licenses to a courier service violates due process because it “deprives the licensed firearms holder of his license for the period after approval, when his license is not delivered and of its use for other ancillary purposes.”
Last Tuesday, the high court asked the respondents to answer the petitions.
The PNP has justified using a courier service, saying it is one of the measures against the proliferation of loose firearms.
However, only recently, courier firm Werfast backed out of its contract with the PNP after coming under intense criticism from gun owners who complained of its overpriced services and questioned its registration papers.
PNP Director General Alan Purisima also came under fire for defending Werfast.
Even some police officers have questioned the need for a courier service.
One official in Camp Crame, speaking on condition he not be named, said the service has enough measures to check on the authenticity of gun license applicants.
“Sapat naman ang mga measures to prevent ‘yung mga tinatawag na ‘ghost gun holders’ kasi may Oplan Katok at humihingi ng proof of billing para mapatunayan na ‘yung applicant mismo for a gun license ang kukuha (There are enough measures to prevent so-called ‘ghost gun holders’ because there is Oplan Katok and we also ask for proof of billing to make sure the gun license applicant is the one who receives it),” the official said.
Oplan Katok is a program under which police officers personally visit the addresses listed down by applicants to verify their identities. (MNS)