Yesterday an article appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer stating that actor Robin Padilla surrendered and turned over his licensed firearms to the Philippine National Police because he was allegedly disqualified under the new law RA 10591 from possessing firearms due to his 1993 conviction for illegal possession of firearms: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/737567/robin-padilla-surrenders-guns-asks-pnp-to-take-care-of-his-girlfriends. Robin Padilla was previously convicted and sentenced in 1993 to 17 years of imprisonment for illegal possession of firearms under the old law PD 1866 back then. THereafter a few years later a sympathetic congress full of actors led by Sen. Ramon Revilla passed an amendment to PD 1866, which was then RA 8294, which lowered the penalty for illegal possession of firearms to below 6 years imprisonment, thus qualifiying Padilla for early release on probation. Now, with the passage of RA 10591 in 2013, Sec. 4 par. (g) of said law disqualifies applicants of firearms License to Own and Possess Firearms (LTOP) who are currently charged or were convicted of crimes where the law prescribes a penalty of more than two years imprisonment. Consequently, Padilla, who like all other current licensed gun owners had to re-apply for an LTOP and pursuant to sec. 4 par. (g) of the new law, was disqualified from possessing his licensed firearms. Hence, Padilla surrendered his firearms to the philippine national police.
The retroactive application of RA 10591 with respect to firearms licensing requirements to existing licensed gun owners, is precisely what PROGUN is now questioning in our petition before the Supreme Court. RA 10591, which is a criminal law, should not be applied retroactively to gun owners who already have been licensed before under the old law and who already have been in prior possession of their firearms for several years or decades. The retroactive application of criminal laws is prohibited by the Constitution as EX POST FACTO legislation. What the PNP has done in their Implementing Rules of Regulations (IRR) of RA 10591 is to restractively require all existing licensed gun owners to RE-APPLY and RE-QUALIFY under the new law. The new law was passed only in 2013 and the licensed gun owners have been in possession of their licensed firearms for years, if not decades. As such, failure to re-qualify under the new law would require the existing licensed gun owners to surrender or tun over their already previously licensed firearms to the government. This is confiscatory and likewise prohibited under the Constitution, in addition to being EX POST FACTO. This is what happened to Robin Padilla.
Our PROGUN petition which was filed last 23 December 2014 is still pending before the Supreme Court. The issue being raised in our PROGUN petition is to question the retroactive of ex post facto application of RA 10591. PROGUN is also questioning the LTOP requirement itself as being UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
In the meantime, PROGUN this encourages licensed gun owners NOT to surrender or turn over their firearms and instead await the decision of the Supreme Court on this matter.