LAST Monday, I wrote about the questionable conduct of seminars and processing of documents when one applies for a License to Own and Posses Firearms (LTOPF) with the Philippine National Police (PNP). I asked if the process has been sub-contracted to a civilian group in cahoots with some PNP personnel that collects higher fees than what is prescribed by the PNP.

I was in Barili last week and a Carcar City official told me they were scheduled to have an LTOPF seminar last June 6. I was surprised because from what I learned an applicant should only deal with the PNP and not with a civilian group. The official said a president of a local gun club is leading the group with personnel from the PNP Crime Laboratory.

The group collects P5,500 per applicant; a PNP an applicant will only shell out P2,080. If the civilian group pays the PNP the fees required from an applicant, where does the extra money it is collecting goes? And who authorized the civilian group to deal with local government officials who have government-issued or privately-owned firearms?

To be fair, I received a clarification from Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Chief Prudencio “Tom” Bañas on this matter:

“This has reference to your column in Sun.Star Cebu dated June 8, 2015 titled, “Is LTOP for sale?” wherein it was stated that a certain Jerome Lim, a president of a gun club, together with personnel from the PNP Crime Laboratory, conducted an LTOP seminar in the City of Carcar. Also, it was mentioned that Lim's group collects P5,500 per LTOP applicant.

“The alleged LTOP caravan in Carcar City on June 6 was not sanctioned by PRO 7 and there was no official directive from the undersigned for the said caravan.

Moreover, this office has nothing to do with the aforementioned package fee amounting to P5,500 as the police participating offices present were only collecting the required fees and these were all covered with receipts.

“We would also like to inform you that, since May 2015, we have stopped the conduct of LTOPF caravans due to reports that there are individuals who are making money out of these and using these for their own personal advantage and at the expense of PRO 7. We assure you that PRO 7 is one with you in the pursuit of truth and good governance.

So Bañas denied giving sanction or authorizing the civilian group. Again, who authorized this group to conduct seminars and collect higher fees from the applicants?

I don't want to drag an international fraternity into this issue. But I see links. Sources said that the head of the civilian group is an active member of the fraternity in Cebu. He heads a gun club association and has strong connections with the PNP. And you know, some top officials in PRO 7 and in Camp Crame are members of the fraternity.

If the civilian group cannot be stopped, we will just warn the public, especially local government units, not to deal with the civilian group because it is not authorized to conduct seminars and process documents for LTOPF applicants. Deal only with the PNP.

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This “has-been politician” is really like a mad dog. He barks at anybody even at his own shadow. After filing an administrative complaint against city officials headed by Mayor Mike Rama for the release of calamity assistance and filing a string of administrative cases against City Treaurer Diwa Cuevas now his target is City legal officer Jerone Castillo.

This “has-been politician” asked the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to fire Castillo out and bar him perpetually from holding office because he is not qualified for the job. Invoking a particular provision in the Local Government Code, the complainant said that Castillo is not qualified to be the city's legal officer because he is not a resident and not a registered voter of Cebu City. He lives in the town of Consolacion. Besides, his appointment has no concurrence from the city ouncil. But I was informed that Castillo is a registered voter of Cebu City.

And why is this “has-been politician” picking on Castillo? Because the city won in the Rallos case. Note that the complainant prodded Rama before to pay the Ralloses in millions of pesos for their property in Sambag that was not even used by the city.

Daghan man to silang interesado nga bayran gyud sa siyudad ang mga Rallos. Ambot lang nganong didto sila modapig sa mga Rallos. But Mike insisted that the city should not pay the Ralloses and he went to court.

People who have idle minds will look for ways to harass other people. And that is what this “has-been politician” is doing.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)