NEW CAMPAIGN VS. LOOSE FIREARMS
LINGAYEN—Newly-installed Police Provincial Officer-in-Charge Mariano Luis Verzosa has launched a new campaign against loose firearms as part of the program to minimize crimes, especially those perpetrated by motorcycle-riding-in-tandem hitmen (MRTH).
Verzosa said the campaign is directed against criminal elements, private armed groups and other threat groups in possession of loose firearms.
Chief Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Nicanor Bartolome ordered the campaign when he visited the Police Region 1 (PRO 1) in San Fernando City, La Union last month.
Verzosa was chief of the intelligence division of PRO 1 before assuming as OIC of the Pangasinan police.
When he assumed office earlier this month, Verzosa’s first marching order from Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. is to stop the MRTH operating the province.
Verzosa said the renewed campaign against loose firearms isalso timely since Executive Order No. 194, now allows an individual to acquire and apply for licenses for as many firearms as he /she can afford.
Under the EO, all firearms can be licensed except those that are operated by two or more persons, such as a bazooka.
Last week, the police raided the residence and poultry house of Urbiztondo Mayor Ernesto Balolong and were surprised to see all the 14 high-powered firearms and about 700 rounds of ammunition they found there all licensed through Camp Crame, the police headquarters.
Verzosa said aside from checking the status of firearms in the hands of individuals, the police will also check firearms whose licenses were not renewed by their owners.
The police consider all firearms whose licenses were not renewed as loose and therefore liable to be seized and their owners charged for illegal possession.
Verzosa noted that they have on file the names of persons who did not renew the licenses of their firearms.
He said letters will be sent to errant owners and the police will take action against them if no reply is received.
Verzosa noted the use of loose firearms to commit crimes, especially by MRTH.