Senator seeks inquiry vs cops behind sale of AK-47 rifles

- By Butch Fernandez @butchfbm

ADMINISTR ATION Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, taking the cue from President Duterte, is pushing for a Senate probe into reports that some Philippine National Police (PNP) officials sold AK-47 assault rifles to the New People’s Army (NPA).

In filing Senate Resolution 811, dela Rosa stressed the need for lawmakers to still look into the anomaly even as cases were already filed at the Sandiganba­yan against the erring PNP officers involved the illegal gun deal arming rebels fighting State forces.

Dela Rosa’s Resolution aims to review and strengthen the law, as well as the policy on government’s issuance of license and permit to carry firearms.

The first-term lawmaker, a former chief of the National Police, cited reports that private individual­s, and even corporatio­ns, are “exploiting” gaps in the existing law to sell firearms, “even to communist rebels and terrorist groups.”

Dela Rosa’s Resolution recalled a previous incident involving the confiscati­on of 44-AK-47 rifles in separate encounters between State forces and NPA rebels in the Caraga and Western Mindanao Regions.

It was reported that the seized firearms were eventually traced to be part of the 1,004 State-issued AK- 47 rifles registered and acquired for the PNP between year 2011 and 2013.

Senate probers were also prodded to look into other assorted “irregulari­ties” that led to erring officers being dismissed and charged before the Ombudsman that elevated cases for trial by the Sandiganba­yan.

They recalled that last January 2018, the Office of the President pressed for a reinvestig­ation by the Department of Justice on learning not all those held liable were charged.

In his last State of the Nation Address, President Duterte had also asked Congress to conduct an inquiry into the anomaly.

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