IS THE application for License to Own and Possess (LTOP) Firearms of the Philippine National Police (PNP) being sub-contracted by some quarters associated with top-ranking officials of the PNP or is it just a money-making venture by this group?

I received information that a group headed by a certain Jerome Lim, a president of a gun club, is conducting LTOP seminars and processing of application papers in some local government units and officials. The group’s “captured clients” are LGU officials, who possess government-issued or personal firearms.

I received this information when I was in Barili last week. An official from Carcar City informed me that Lim’s group and personnel from the PNP Crime Laboratory were scheduled to conduct an LTOP seminar in the city for a fee higher than what is collected by the PNP. In the PNP, an applicant is only charged the following: drug test, P300; neuro test, P900; fingerprint, P200; gun safety seminar, P600; R-2 clearance, P80; or a total of P2,080. This excludes the court and NBI clearances.

However, if you already have clearance from the PRO 7 R2 (intelligence) division, the NBI clearance is optional.

But Lim’s group collects a total of P5,500 per applicant. The question is: Is Lim’s group authorized to do this transaction? I thought that an applicant for an LTOP will only deal with the PNP. Granting that Lim’s group is authorized by the PNP to accept and process an LTOP application and the regular payment of P2,080 will go to the PNP’s coffer, where will the balance go? Dakoa nila’g jackup no? Is this happening nationwide or in Region 7 only? Can our PRO 7 officials clarify this matter?

***

I am preparing for the worst-case scenario today or maybe tomorrow. I may be arrested for the libel case a “has-been politician” filed against me. The case was filed last Wednesday after designated Prosecutor Jose Rodrigo Tagaan denied my motion for reconsideration.

He recommended bail of P10,000. If I cannot produce the amount, that means I have to spend time in jail. However, Sun.Star management assured me that they will produce the amount.

One possible scenario is the case will be raffled off this noon. The assigned judge might immediately issue a warrant of arrest against me. Or he might review the case to determine any probable cause to issue a warrant. If this happens, I can have relief for a couple of days. My lawyers advised me to post bail even without a warrant being issued. They even asked me to be at the Quimonda building during the raffling of the case so we can proceed immediately to the assigned court to post bail so I can sleep soundly tonight.

The court might also suspend the arraignment and the trial, pending the resolution of our petition for review before the Department of Justice. Again, this is what we call “occupational hazard.” This is my first time to face a libel suit in court. I have been charged 26 times but this is the only one that reached the court. The others were dismissed at the prosecutor’s level. So be it. But this will never stop me from pursuing my profession as a broadcast journalist. Keep the fire burning, so to speak.

***

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) 7 warned radio and television stations about misleading herbal medicine supplement advertisements. The agency can close a broadcast station if it is caught airing misleading commercials. NTC 7 Director Jess Laureno made this warning during a media forum after he was asked about the airing of herbal medicine commercials, which claim therapeutic effects.

If the NTC will do this, I think all radio stations in Cebu will be closed because most of the stations accept commercial or block-time programs sponsored by these herbal products.

But in fairness to these products, and not because we air some at dySS Super Radyo and I endorse one, but every time we air these commercials, there is always a tag rider “no approved therapeutic claim.” So the public has already been warned of its non-therapeutic effect. Are we sure that those branded medicines can effectively cure a particular ailment? With medicines costing a lot nowadays, people resort to alternatives. Moadto pa man gani na sila’g mananambal aron lang magpatambal. Kanang mga stations nga nag-air og masiao mao unta nay unahon sa NTC.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)