REPUBLIC Act 10591 or the tough Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 was specifically designed to arrest the presence of loose firearms across the country and among other, to prevent the possibility that some erring local government officials may purchase guns using their own funds and use the weapons for unauthorized purposes, the Journal Group learned yesterday.
With the 2019 mid-term elections drawing nearer, the PNP headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde also maintained that they are fully implementing the law to curb down gun-related violence on the streets.
RA 10591 is also very strict when it comes to ownership of firearms by LGUs amid previous practices which allowed rogue local government officials to form their own private armed groups using weapons purchased thru taxpayers’ money.
RA 10591 states that in case of LGUs and Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), the Local Chief Executive (governor, mayor or barangay chairman) and head of office respectively shall represent the office concerned in the application of the Long Certificate of Registration which refers to licenses issued to government offices for firearms to be used by their officials and employees who are qualified to possess firearms excluding security guards.
The gun law specifically states that the firearms of the LGU and GOCCs shall be under the name of the concerned office and its authorized bonded custodian. Registered firearm of the LGU and GOCCs covered by the LCR shall be issued to a government official or employee with permanent plantilla position thru the Short Certificate of Registration issued by the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office.
The law is strictly implemented by the PNP to arrest the possibility that some registered firearms of LGUs and GOCCs have been issued to unauthorized persons after they were issued a Property Accountability Receipt.
A Journal Group check showed that local government officials could be liable for violation of RA 10591 if they will be found in possession of firearms owned by their respective local governments.
RA 10591 shows that in particular, its Section 28 states that ‘the unlawful acquisition, possession of firearms and ammunition shall be penalized by the penalty of prision mayor in its medium period.’ The law specifically refers to a ‘small arm’ like a pistol.
The Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10591 says no local government official -- a governor, a vice-governor or a mayor and vice-mayor--is authorized to possess firearms officially issued by the PNP to local government units.
The IRR of RA 10591 says ‘the Duty Detail Order of the Local Government Unit shall be signed by the Local Chief Executive, Chief of Police/Provincial Director and authorized bonded firearm custodians.’ The Duty Detail Order authorizes only the following to possess and use firearm/s registered to and owned by the LGU in line with or in the performance of his/her assigned task/duty:
First, an LGU Security Officer with Civil Service Commission-approved plantilla position assigned in the supervision of the security personnel of the LGU; Second, a Security Officer with CSG-approved plantilla position assigned in the supervision and security of facilities owned by the LGU; Third, a Security Officer with CSC-approved plantilla position in charge with the security of the Local Chief Executive; and Fourth, a Security Officer with CSC-approved plantilla position assigned to secure the financial resources of the LGU.