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Metro

Ex-FEO chief denies rifle shipment abandoned

Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A former police general denied allegations by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) that the firearms turned over to the Philippine National Police (PNP) was abandoned by the importer four years ago.

Napoleon Estilles, erstwhile head of the PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Office, said he did not import the rifles.

“Just to set the record straight. I’m not the importer of the Colt rifles. It’s Mr. Sel Yulo, of Colt Phil. He is the authorized distributor of Colt USA. The items were supposed to be for demo with DND (Department of National Defense) and the PNP,” Estilles said in a text to The STAR.

Estilles said the firearms were never abandoned by the dealer with the BOC – the bureau did not release the items despite numerous follow-ups by the dealer.

“Also, I was not dismissed, I retired,” said Estilles.

The Office of the Ombudsman ordered on June 30 the dismissal of Estilles, PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima and nine other officials for entering into an anomalous contract with a courier service for the delivery of gun licenses.

As for being charged in connection with 1,004 missing rifles that turned up in the hands of communist rebels, Estilles said the “AK-47 did not go missing from FEO storage but from the security agencies that own them.”

The Office of the Ombudsman said the complaint alleges that the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group issued an investigation report dated July 17, 2014 showing that four private security agencies and a mining company successfully applied and were issued firearms licenses by the FEO using falsified and incomplete documentary requirements.

According to BOC district collector Edgar Macabeo, the shipment, which arrived in the country on July 12, 2011, was consigned to the PNP through Estilles.

The shipment, sent by Colt Defense from Connecticut in the United States, was never claimed from the Pair Cargo warehouse near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Macabeo said.

The shipment consisted of four infantry assault rifles and their cleaning kits, a carbine rifle and its cleaning kit, four buttstock and buffer assemblies and 30 magazines for 5.56mm rifles.

Macabeo said the shipment was declared as abandoned on Feb. 9, 2012 when the consignee failed to claim and work for the release of the shipment.

Macabeo turned the shipment over to PNP deputy chief for operations Deputy Director General Danilo Constantino at the BOC’s office at NAIA on Monday.

ACIRC BUREAU OF CUSTOMS COLT DEFENSE COLT PHIL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AND DETECTION GROUP DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL DANILO CONSTANTINO DIRECTOR GENERAL ALAN PURISIMA ESTILLES MACABEO OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
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