SPD to DOJ: Probe fiscal in ‘assassin’ case

Mike Frialde - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Southern Police District (SPD) has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to look into how the Pasay City prosecutor’s office handled the case of a Chinese man – earlier accused of being an “assassin” for a crime syndicate – who was arrested with a cache of weapons and grenades at a casino last Dec. 26, 2013.

The Jan. 6 minute resolution penned by Assistant Prosecutor Josefina Muego, who ordered the release of suspect Jerry Sy, 46, from police custody was simply “outrageous,” SPD director Chief Superintendent Jose Erwin Villacorte said. Sy was charged with illegal possession of guns and explosives.

“They ordered us to release him and have the complaint undergo regular preliminary investigation. But we have informed them (prosecutors) that Sy’s address in Manila was fictitious. We even showed them a certification issued by barangay officials. If he is released, he will just disappear,” Villacorte said.

“That is why we are asking Justice Secretary (Leila de Lima) to look into the case,” he added.

In the resolution, Muego ordered the Pasay City police to release Sy after she questioned the manner by which the responding police officers from the Police Community Precinct 8 (PCP-8) discovered the cache of guns and explosives in Sy’s car, which was parked at the VIP parking area of the Resorts World Manila casino.

Police officers responded to a call about an altercation at the parking area. They said they caught Sy alleged about to stab Joseph Ang, a casino financier. Ang refused to file charges against Sy.

No crime?

Muego said the police officers arrested Sy after witnessing two magazines drop from his person. “Neither was there a crime committed or being committed when two magazine assemblies dropped from Sy. The police assumed immediately that Jerry Sy is not licensed to possess ammunition,” the resolution read.

She said the police officers arrested Sy “without proper determination of the respondent’s capacity to own or possess it. In fact, there is no certification from the proper government agency that Jerry Sy is not licensed to own or possess any firearms or ammunition.”

Aside from several guns, some with silencers, boxes of bullets, and fragmentation grenades, the police officers also found gloves, a stun gun, a hatchet, various knives, a smoke grenade and metal spikes in the car Sy was driving, the Pasay police said.

Sticking points

Villacorte said that under the law, it is prohibited for a foreigner to own a firearm. He added that it is also against the law to possess a silencer, several of which were found in Sy’s car.

Villacorte earlier said they are looking into the angle that Sy is an enforcer or an assassin working with a gang with links to casinos.

He added that during his arrest, Sy was only able to produce his driver’s license and no other documents to show that the guns were licensed and that he has permits to carry them in public.

“The guns had their serial numbers defaced. We were able to trace one gun to its supposed owner, a certain Ronnie Tan from Pampanga. But when Pampanga police checked it, they found out that both Ronnie Tan and the supposed address were both fictitious,” he said.

Villacorte said that immediately following the order of the Pasay City prosecutor’s office, they charged Sy with being an undocumented alien and turned him over to the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

BI spokesperson Ma. Angelica Pedro said yesterday that Sy is currently staying at the agency’s detention facility at Camp Bagong Diwa. He will be deported if he is found guilty of “immigration charges and if he has no pending case in any Philippine court,” she said.

Pasay City police chief Senior Superintendent Florencio Ortilla said they will also file an additional charge against Sy for concealing his true name and identity.

He said the address on Sy’s authentic driver’s license was fake, and the suspect was unable to produce a passport or any document from the BI.

The white Honda Accord Sy was driving was registered the name of Sharon Sy. Ortilla said its certificate of registration and official receipt were authentic but the owner’s address does not exist.        – With Evelyn Macairan

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