Solons seek probe into release of high-powered firearms to police auxiliaries, private security agencies

member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) shows the new Glock 17 Generation 4 pistols after a distribution ceremony of the pistols at the police headquarters in Manila July 2, 2013. Philippine President Benigno Aquino attended the ceremony in which 22,603 pistols were distributed to PNP officers as part of the government’s effort to arm each police officer in the country with a handgun in order to strengthen the police force, local media reported. (MNS photo)

member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) shows the new Glock 17 Generation 4 pistols after a distribution ceremony of the pistols at the police headquarters in Manila July 2, 2013. Philippine President Benigno Aquino attended the ceremony in which 22,603 pistols were distributed to PNP officers as part of the government’s effort to arm each police officer in the country with a handgun in order to strengthen the police force, local media reported. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Police generals-turned-lawmakers are urging Congress to investigate the veracity of the reported dubious release by a unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP) of around 900 high-powered firearms to police auxiliaries and security agencies.

In House Resolution 772, Reps. Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City), Samuel Pagdilao Jr. (Partylist, ACT-CIS) and Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan) asked the House Committee on Public Order and Safety to determine the implications of the reported release of the high-powered firearms to the government’s campaign against loose firearms.

The lawmakers sought the probe after President Benigno Aquino III publicly revealed that a certain unit of PNP in Camp Crame has reportedly released up to 900 high-powered firearms to various groups.

President Aquino said the released firearms consisting of AK47 and M16 assault rifles were “excessive” and “apparently were not meant for the recipients.”

Director General Felipe Rojas Jr., Deputy Chief for Administration, denied any involvement by the PNP and suggested that the private groups themselves might have imported the firearms.

Acop expressed concern over the repercussion of the reported incident.

“The alleged dubious transfer of such high-powered firearms to private groups is particularly disturbing as it came in the heels of a successful crackdown by the PNP on loose firearms dubbed Oplan Katok,” Acop said.

“If there is some truth to it, it will cast a lingering doubt on the sincerity and capability of the PNP to effectively implement Republic Act No. 10591, or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunitions recently passed by Congress aimed at arresting the proliferation of illegal firearms to protect the people against violence and maintain peace and order,” Acop added.

Acop stressed the immediate need for Congress to conduct an inquiry on the alleged incident.

He also urged Congress to “identify and adopt measures to strengthen the PNP’s capability to address the problem of loose and unlawful firearms in the country, reduce the incidents of violence and crimes committed with the use of firearms and to discourage or prevent the occurrence of similar incidents.” (MNS)

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