Is there something wrong in PNP’s Oplan: Katok?

October 23, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 1038 views

Alfred DalizonI am an avid support supporter of the PNP’s Oplan Katok launched during the time of former PNP chief, General Alan Purisima in which police go house-to-house to visit holders of firearms with expired licenses and courteously request them to renew their permits.

However, I am calling on PNP chief, General Gilor Eleazar to look into the possibility that ‘blatant errors’ may be being committed by some local police territorial units in sending out notices to responsible gunholders which tend to create confusion and future arguments between officers and individuals with valid gun permits and licenses.

I’m saying this after I got a ‘Notice for Expired License/s’ from the Quezon City Police District Station 11 informing me that the license of one of my firearms had already expired and I need to renew or surrender it immediately.

The QCPD Station 11, in its undated notice said that ‘based on the records from the Firearms Information Management System (FIMS) of Firearms and Explosive (sic) Office, Civil Security Group (FEO,CSG), Camp Crame, Quezon City, my firearm license expired ‘20171025’ or on October 25, 2017.’

The following are also included in the same notice: “Under the existing laws (PD 1866 as amended by RA 8294), a firearm with an expired license is considered an unlicensed firearm and the possession of which is a criminal offense punishable by law. Further, be informed that failure to renew your expired firearm license/s will be a ground for revocation of your firearm license/s and possible confiscation of the said firearms (sic).”

“Philippine National Police (PNP) is extending humanitarian consideration for each firearm license holder to renew the expired license/s the soonest. In this regard, you are advised to renew your firearm license/s at the nearest FESAGS or CSG satellite office (SATO) or coordinate to the nearest Police Station for assistance (sic),” the same notice said.

I called up friends from the PNP-CSG, the PNP-FEO and the One-Stop-Shop at Camp Crame after I received the ‘notice’ and they wondered why I was included in the Oplan: Katok when all of my gun licenses are valid. The highly-reliable also showed that the license of my firearm mentioned in the QCPD Station 11 ‘notice’ would expire on ‘November 11, 2021.’

Officials gave me one theory behind my name’s inclusion in the ‘Notice.’ They raised the possibility that the drafter of the ‘Notice’ is relying on a ‘template’ and could have made a mistake in making the ‘notice’ since the is very accurate when it comes to firearm details- from its serial number, caliber, model, , make, kind, type, status and expiry date.’

I informed my friend, QCPD director, Brigadier Gen. Tony Yarra regarding the ‘Notice’ I got and said he would ask the QCPD Station 11 to rectify the matter. Indeed, PNP units in Metro Manila and all over the country should be very careful in giving out similar ‘Notices’ which may be a cause of alarm for ordinary citizens who have nobody to turn to. I can’t imagine what will be a the reaction of a responsible gunholder if he/she gets a ‘notice’ that he/she will or may be subjected to a police action for possession of a gun with an expired license when in fact, his/her gun permit remains valid.

This should be thoroughly checked by the PNP leadership particularly now that Gen. Eleazar has ordered an intensified campaign against loose firearms and gunrunners as part of their effort to ensure a peaceful and fair holding of the 2020 national and local elections.

Gen. Eleazar also reiterated his instructions for his men to intensify their “Oplan Katok” operations “to let the people feel that we are dead serious” in our campaign to rid society of illegal firearms and instruments of crime.

“Ito kasi papalapit na yung ating eleksyon kaya pinaigting natin ang ating campaign against loose firearms, kaya nga meron tayong Oplan Katok na ang ating mga kapulisan ay umiikot para puntahan yung mga may-ari ng expired na licensed na mga baril para i-surrender nila at matulungan silang mag-renew ng mga expired na lisensya ng baril,” he said.

During “Oplan Katok,” a gun holder with expired license is advised to apply for renewal. Should the owner decide not to renew the firearm license and just surrender the firearm, an acknowledgement receipt shall be provided by the inspector to be signed by the firearm holder.

For lost firearms, the gun holder should execute an affidavit of loss stating the reason why it was lost and should be supported by a police investigation report.

Likewise, for a sold firearm, the vendee is required to facilitate the transfer of ownership of the firearm at the PNP-FEO since a mere Deed of Sale does not constitute a complete transaction. Also, in case of death of the licensed firearm holder, family members or relatives should report it to the FEO for the subsequent revocation of the license and will be advised on the process for the transfer of ownership of the firearm.

Under RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013, the PNP chief, through the FEO, shall issue licenses to qualified individuals and cause the registration of firearms. Only small arms may be registered by licensed citizens or licensed juridical entities for ownership, possession and concealed carry. ( I also wonder why the ‘notice’ I got cite provisions of RA 8294 which actually amended provisions of the old Presidential Decree 1866 ‘codifying the laws on illegal/unlawful possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition or disposition of firearms, ammunition or explosives, not RA 10591).

Under RA 10591, the registration of the firearm shall be renewed every four years. Failure to renew the registration of the firearm on or before the date of expiration shall cause the revocation of the license of the firearm and could be considered as loose firearm. The said firearm shall be confiscated or forfeited in favor of the government after due process.

“We will not arrest them, we will not charge them. Pero kung alam namin na expired license at hindi man lang sinu-surrender and then may impormasyon na involved with other activities, we can conduct a case with the operation para ma-file-an ng search warrant,” Gen. Eleazar previously told me. However, he maintained that all operations should be based on accurate PNP-FEO records.