Refund gun permit fees-Chavez Updated 02:11pm (Mla time) Aug 01, 2004 By Philip Tubeza Inquirer News Service FORMER Solicitor General Francisco Chavez has asked the Supreme Court to reverse its decision last month upholding the nationwide gun ban that President Macapagal-Arroyo imposed in 2003. In a 30-page motion, Chavez also asked the Philippine National Police to refund the fees totaling P128 million that gun owners had paid for the Permits to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence (PTCFOR) which the PNP revoked after the gun ban was implemented. "Upon the revocation of their PTCFORs, petitioner and other gun owners did not get anything in return for the fees they paid to the government. They shelled out money for the required fees and the government, by canceling the PTCFORs, gobbled up the gun-owners' money," Chavez said. "This is plain and simple robbery, a fraud. Surely, this cannot be allowed. It was as if the petitioner paid for nothing at all. The PNP has not offered to refund payments made by the gun owners. Is it now entitled to keep the P128 million in gun owners' money?" he said. Chavez said there were an estimated 32,000 holders of PTCFORs who paid a minimum of P4,000 each for permits-to-carry firearms before the gun ban was implemented. In its June 9 ruling, the high tribunal unanimously dismissed Chavez's petition challenging the gun ban, saying that carrying firearms was not a constitutionally protected right. The President imposed the gun ban in January 2003 and ordered PNP chief Director General Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. to cancel existing PTCFORs and suspend the issuance of these permits. Ebdane then issued a set of guidelines to implement the gun ban. However, Chavez insisted that citizens had the basic right to defend themselves, noting that a gun ban did not deter criminals from committing crimes. "Even if the Philippine Constitution does not expressly grant the right to bear arms, citizens have the inherent right to protect their lives, which cannot be taken away by any law, much less mere implementing guidelines," Chavez said. He cited a study made by lawyer Roy M. Manuel Villasor of the National Defense College, which showed that a gun ban had "no significant effect" on the country's total crime volume (TCV). Villasor noted that despite a six-month gun ban during the 1998 elections, the TCV still rose by .69 percent.