After revocation of gun licenses, recall of police security, PNP says it is not picking on Teves

After revoking the licenses of his firearms, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has ordered the recall of the policemen detailed as security for Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnulfo Teves.

In a statement released to the media, the PNP insinuated that there was lapses in the deployment of security detail for Teves since the policemen assigned to him are not connected with the Police Security Protection Group, a police unit in charge of securing VIPs, government officials and other people who need security over threats to their life.

"As for withdrawal of Cong. Teves' police bodyguards, such is only in compliance with the PNP MC (Memorandum Circular) 2019-006 which directs that only PSPG personnel are authorized to render protective security to all government officials to include members of the house of representatives," the statement read.

On Jan. 25, the PNP, through its Firearms and Explosives Office, issued a statement regarding the revocation of licenses of long and shot firearms registered to Teves.

FEO chief Col. Paul Kenneth Lucas said the reason was that Teves submitted spurious documents for the registration of his firearms--three long firearms and nine short firearms.

"As the law knows no bounds, among the holders of such privilege who was subjected to inspection and audit as authorized by law was incumbent Representative Arnulfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. of the 3rd District of Negros Oriental," a separate PNP statement read.

"During one of the regular inspections and audits conducted on gun holders, it appeared that spurious documents were submitted by Rep. Teves in support of his application for firearm license," it added.

This resulted in Teves surrendering all his firearms.

"No one is exempted from our enforcement of the law. Our implementation is always fair and judicious in accordance with existing laws and regulations. This only manifests that we are serious in our thrust to account for loose firearms in all parts of the country," said Lucas.

Teves earlier told his colleagues at the House of Representatives that the PNP is to blame if something bad happens to him following the revocation of the licenses of his guns and the recall of his police security details.

PNP chief information officer Police Col. Redrico Maranan said the revocation of gun licenses has nothing to do with Teves' recent tirades against Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos.

Maranan told the Manila Bulletin that the PNP has been purging its list of gun holders since 2019, wherein the FEO revoked 240 firearm licenses and confiscated 684 firearms registered under licenses which were found to be involved in various violations and crimes over the past four years.

"The sustained revocations of the license privilege of gun holders followed after the relentless implementation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, meant to ferret out unauthorized gun owners in a bid to boost the country’s law and order condition," said Maranan.

In a statement, the PNP said all gun-holders issued with license to own and possess a firearm is a mere privilege and not an absolute right.

"As such, all licensed gun-holders are required to comply with all the rules and guidelines stipulated in their license and any violation therein would result in the revocation of their licenses," the statement read.

"Since Cong. Teves' license application was found to have lacking documents, PNP had no choice but to revoke the same. The fact that a deficient license was issued to Cong. Teves does not grant him any 'vested rights.' As mentioned, the license is a mere privilege. If later on, it is found that a gun-holder's license was erroneously issued, the PNP is duty bound to correct the error," it added.

The PNP also stressed that Teves was not singled out in the cancellation of his license.

"In sum, the PNP asserts that it has performed its duty to enforce laws fairly without exemption. The PNP affirms its commitment to strict enforcement of firearms laws and the promotion of responsible gun ownership," the statement read.