MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. on Wednesday directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to immediately confiscate the licensed firearms of the police officer who had been charged with firing his handgun during a confrontation with another customer in a bar in Quezon City.
Abalos' order came after the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office revoked the licenses of all three guns of the suspect, Lt. Col. Mark Julio Abong.
“Hindi dapat bigyan ng pribilehiyo na magmay-ari o magdala ng baril ang sinumang hindi responsable o mapagkakatiwalaan na humawak nito. Kahit pa siya ay isang alagad ng batas (An irresponsible and untrustworthy person should not be given the privilege to carry or possess a firearm, even if he or she is an enforcer of the law),” he said in a statement.
Abalos said the possession, ownership, and carrying of firearms and ammunition are not vested rights but mere privileges granted by the government, which he said could be revoked anytime, especially if a crime or offense is committed using the firearm.
Likewise, Section 2 of Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution 10918 prohibits carrying or transporting firearms or deadly weapons outside of residence or place of business and in all public places during the election period.
This year, the election period for the recently concluded Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) began on Aug. 28 and ends on Wednesday.
Section 63 of the resolution authorizes the PNP chief or any of his authorized representatives to revoke, cancel, or suspend the firearms license, firearms registration, and permit to carry firearms outside of residence.
Among the grounds for cancellation are the commission of crimes involving firearms, and carrying firearms without the proper permit or in prohibited places.
Abong is facing criminal complaints for the illegal discharge of a firearm, a violation under Republic Act (RA) 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act), violation of the Omnibus Election Code, physical injury, slander by deed, and disobedience upon an agent or person in authority at the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office.
In March, the Quezon City People's Law Enforcement Board (QC PLEB) ordered Abong's dismissal from the service after he was found guilty of multiple charges stemming from a hit-and-run case in August 2022 that killed a tricycle driver and injured his passenger.
Abong, however, remains in the service pending the decision of the DILG on his appeal for the earlier case. (PNA)