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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, July 8, 2013
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Judge halts revocation
of licenses for 74 guns

Assisting Judge Manuel Cardinal Jr. of the Bago City Regional Trial Court Branch 62 has granted a writ of preliminary injunction preventing the enforcement of an order cancelling the licenses of 74 firearms seized from the ancestral house of former Pulupandan Mayor Magdaleno Peña in Barangay Ubay, Pulupandan, the ownership of which is being claimed by four firms.

The writ of preliminary injunction dated July 4 was granted subject to the posting of an injunction bond of P100,000 by the plaintiffs Golden Lake Mineral Resources Inc., JHMA Marin Holdings Inc., Kentfield Corp., and Vegas Exploration and Mining Corp.

It appears that defendant, Senior Supt. Jose Mario Meneses Espino, head of the Anti-Organized Crime Division of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, was the one who recommended the revocation of the licenses on his claim that 12 of the firearms seized during the raid were unlicensed, Cardinal said.

However, the plaintiffs’ evidence on record show that all these firearms, are, in fact, licensed, the judge added in his 7-page order.

The plaintiffs have established that they are the registered owners of 74 of the 90 firearms seized, he said. The plaintiffs are also the owners of 10 of the 12 firearms allegedly found to be unlicensed, he noted.

The claim that they are unlicensed, however, has been sufficiently   refuted by the plaintiffs, he added.

“As the registered owners of these firearms, plaintiffs’ have  certainly a clear and unmistakable right to be protected against acts that infringe (on)  their rights…The licensees are, in the very least, entitled  to notice and due process of law in case of revocation of their licenses,” he said.

The judge said revocation of the licenses without legal and factual basis is a material and substantial violation of the plaintiffs’ rights.

If not enjoined, the implementation and enforcement of Resolution No. 2013-058 revoking their licenses would cause irreparable injury to the plaintiffs, as it would render them vulnerable to harassments and possible criminal complaints and prosecution for illegal possession of firearms, the judge said.

Only a writ of preliminary injunction can prevent such irreparable injury from happening, Cardinal added in his order.

On May 2, 2013, the PNP-CIDG and Special Action Force raided   the Peña ancestral house and seized 90 firearms with ammunition, 74 of which were claimed by the four firms.

On June 4, 2013, the PNP Firearm Revocation and Restoration Board cancelled the licenses of all 90 firearms.

The four firms, on June 14, filed a civil case before the Bago RTC for injunction with prayer for writ of preliminary prohibitory/mandatory injunction and/or temporary restraining order against the defendants to restore the licenses of the seized firearms.

Cardinal, in his July 4 order, enjoined defendants Espino, the Firearms License Revocation and Restoration Board, represented by its chairman, Senior Supt. Allan Parreño; and Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, chief of the Firearms and Explosives Office, including all their agents, from implementing, enforcing and/or using Resolution No. 2013-058 dated June 4, 2013 pending final determination of the case.

In summary hearings on the application for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, the plaintiffs presented Linton Ngo Jr. – warehouse supervisor of PB Dionisio Inc., Jeannette Aliño – supervisor of Twin Pines Inc., Supt. Mafelino Bazar – Region 6 PNP-CIDG chief, lawyer Roem Arbolado, Supt. William Señoron – PNP regional intelligence chief, Chief Inspector Jerome Puentespina – OIC of the Negros Occidental PNP Crime Laboratory, and Chief Inspector Ramonit Javier as witnesses.

The defendants did not present any evidence, and both parties manifested that they were submitting the injunction incident for resolution, the judge noted.*CPG



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