THE Peaceful and Responsible Owners of Guns (Progun) has asked the Supreme Court to stop the Philippine National Police (PNP) from implementing the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of what it described as an “oppressive” firearms law.
In a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and or writ of preliminary injunction filed on December 23, Progun assailed the IRR of Republic Act (RA) 10591 or “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.”
According to the group, the PNP, with grave abuse of discretion, issued the IRR and implemented the so-called License to Own and Possess Firearms (LTOPF) requirement retroactively to licensed gun owners, dealers and importers in violation of the prohibition against Ex Post Facto under Article 3, Section 22 of the Constitution.
“Notably, RA 10591 is a criminal law, which prescribes criminal penalties for violation or failure to comply, particularly with respect to licensing of firearms and renewal thereof,” Progun said in its petition.
“Thus, the respondent PNP cannot apply said law retroactively by compelling existing licensed gun owners who are already in possession of their firearms and have already previously qualified to lawfully possess their firearms under the old law to once more re-apply and re-qualify of the LTOPF,” the group added.
The same applies to licenses to deal, manufacture and importation of firearms by entities licensed to engage in such activities, it explained.
Progun pointed out that to retroactively apply the LTOPF requirement through the IRR would result in Ex Post Facto legislation with the PNP criminalizing the current holders.
There are 1.7 million licensed firearms registered with the PNP.
The group is also fighting for the amendmet of RA 10591 in Congress, which, according to its secretary-general Ernesto Tabujara, “would have to wait till after 2016 when there is a change in this current anti-gun presidency and the political landscape.”
In challenging the IRR, Progun said the PNP has gone overboard and beyond what was stated in RA 10591.
“Moreover, the PNP has included a myriad of additional licenses, fees and impositions which are not contained in, nor authorized by, RA 10591. It is fundamental in administrative law and regulation that the administrative agency implementing the law must stick within the powers that were vested in the law,” it added.
Progun is also assailing the inclusion of penal provisions in the IRR, pointing out that it is elementary in administrative law that only Congress can define and impose a criminal penalty by law.
“Administrative agencies such as the PNP have no jurisdiction to do so,” the group said.
The IRR, Progun claimed, was drafted behind closed doors by the PNP in violation of Section 44 of RA 10591 that mandates that the IRR must be drafted in consultation with concerned sectors.