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Top PNP officials face probe for missing firearms

Criminal and administrative complaints were filed against ranking officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in connection with the missing 1,004 high-powered AK47 firearms allegedly sold to the New People’s Army (NPA).

Facing the criminal complaint for 19 counts of Falsification, 23 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), 23 counts of violation of Section 3(j) of R.A. 3019, and violation of R.A. 5487 (Private Security Agency Law) are PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (PNP-FEO) officials P/Dir.

Gil Meneses, P/Dir. Napoleon Estilles, P/CSupt. Raul Petrasanta, P/CSupt. Tomas Rentoy II, P/CSupt. Regino Catiis, P/SSupt. Eduardo Acierto, P/SSupt. Allan Parreno, P/Supt. Nelson Bautista, P/CInsp. Ricky Sumalde, P/CInsp. Ricardo Zapata Jr., P/CInsp. Rodrigo Benedicto Sarmiento, SPO1 Eric Tan, SPO1 Randy De Sesto and three non-uniformed personnel. Also included in the criminal complaint are Isidro Lozada of Caraga Security Agency and representatives of gun supplier, Twin Pines, Inc.

Administrative charges for Grave Misconduct and Serious Dishonesty were also filed against the PNP-FEO officials, with a prayer that they be preventively suspended by the Ombudsman pending administrative adjudication.

The Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (OMB-MOLEO) initiated motu proprio the case build-up based on an article in the Philippine Star on 06 June 2014.

The Complaint alleges that the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) issued an Investigation Report dated 17 July 2014 revealing that four private security agencies and a mining company successfully applied and were issued firearms licenses by the PNP-FEO using falsified and incomplete documentary requirements. Based on the PNP-FEO database, 1,004 licensed firearms were released through the submission of incomplete and/or falsified applications submitted by Isidro Lozada, owner of Caraga Security Agency, who purchased the firearms from Twin Pines, Inc. which, in turn, facilitated and submitted the falsified and/or incomplete license applications of Lozada to the PNP-FEO. Despite irregularities in the applications, licenses were processed and approved by PNP-FEO officials and personnel.

Documents gathered during field investigation disclosed that Caraga Security Agency’s License to Operate had expired on 30 September 2012.

The CIDG was also able to validate information that firearms matching the serial numbers of the licensed AK47s issued to the security agencies and mining company were recovered from encounters between the military and the NPAs in the Caraga and Western Mindanao regions.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales created today a five-lawyer special panel to conduct the preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication of these cases.

Source: Public Affairs Office, Ombudsman

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