2013 gun law rejects ex-convicts, but Robin Padilla seeks PNP nod for his rifles
Actor Robin Padilla, who has revived his show-biz career after a four-year imprisonment for illegal gun possession, is trying a new role—from movie bad boy to poster boy of responsible gun ownership.
The action star went to Camp Crame on Friday to hand over four firearms—two 5.56mm Colt, a .30-cal. Winchester and a 7.62mm Garand—for the “safekeeping” of the Philippine National Police while he applies for a new license.
The 45-year-old Padilla said he was following the advice of his lawyer regarding compliance with Republic Act No. 10591, or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act. The law, which took effect in December 2013, requires gun owners to acquire an LTOPF, or a license to own and possess firearms, a permit that adds a layer of security checks before individual firearms are registered.
However, Padilla acknowledged that RA 10591 doesn’t favor someone like him: An applicant for an LTOPF must have no previous criminal conviction or a pending case where conviction is penalized with a prison term of more than two years.
His lawyer, Rudolf Philip Jurado, who accompanied him to the PNP-Civil Security Group office and Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO), explained his client’s situation:
“The problem is that Robin was convicted way back in 1994. When RA 10591 was passed, it requires an applicant to certify that he was not convicted of any crime…. Worse, the law is being applied retroactively. So someone like Robin with a prior conviction will apparently be dispossessed. [Applicants like him] will face some difficulties. So what we’re doing is we’re applying [for a license] for the four rifles. Let’s see what the PNP will do.”
Meeting with PNP exec
Padilla and Jurado raised the matter with PNP-FEO head Chief Supt. Elmo Sarona. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Sarona said he would seek the advice of the PNP legal service.
“Mahirap kasi ’yung kinakatok (It’s hard to have someone knocking on your door),” Padilla said, alluding to the PNP’s “Oplan Katok” campaign wherein police teams would go directly to the homes of known gun owners to check the status of their firearms.
“This is to avoid that and show that I am following the law and that I am no threat. I am just an actor with no ill intentions…. If you again end up in prison for the same case (gun law violation), it means you have never learned,” Padilla said.
Pardoned by Ramos
Sentenced to a 21-year prison term, the celebrity is a free man today—and has since reacquired firearms—thanks to a “conditional pardon” he received in 1998 under the Ramos administration.
The license for the four rifles Padilla brought to Crame were supposed to have expired in November 2014. In August that year, however, the PNP granted a one-year grace period for owners with expiring licenses to reapply under RA 10951.
Before media cameras, Padilla took out his rifles from a heavy-duty silver case, calling them his “girlfriends.” He said he never ceased to be “a gun collector,” but that his weapons had seen action only as “props” for his movies or TV serials.
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