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‘Evidence strong vs ex-PNP execs in rifle scam’

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
âEvidence strong vs ex-PNP execs in rifle scamâ
The Sandiganbayan also denied the respective motions of the other fomer police officials: Civil Security Group director Gil Meneses, FEO head Napoleon Estilles, FEO inspection and enforcement section chief Nelson Bautista, I&E assistant chief Ricardo Zapata Jr., PNP Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies chief Tomas Rentoy III, Eduardo Acierto, Regino Catiis, Allan Parreño, Ricky Sumalde, Eric Tan and Randy de Sesto as well as non-uniformed personnel Nora Pirote and Sol Bargan.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has found strong evidence against former Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) chief Brig. Gen. Raul Petrasanta and 13 other PNP officials who are facing graft charges in connection with the AK-47 rifle scam in 2013.

“After a careful study of the documentary and testimonial evidence presented by the prosecution, the anti-graft court finds that, if unrebutted, the same is prima facie sufficient to support a verdict of guilt against the defendants for violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” the Sixth Division said in a 21-page resolution promulgated on July 28.

The court dismissed Petrasanta’s motion to file a demurrer to evidence, which would have allowed him to seek the dismissal of the charges filed against him without presenting his defense.

The Sandiganbayan also denied the respective motions of the other fomer police officials: Civil Security Group director Gil Meneses, FEO head Napoleon Estilles, FEO inspection and enforcement section chief Nelson Bautista, I&E assistant chief Ricardo Zapata Jr., PNP Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies chief Tomas Rentoy III, Eduardo Acierto, Regino Catiis, Allan Parreño, Ricky Sumalde, Eric Tan and Randy de Sesto as well as  non-uniformed personnel Nora Pirote and Sol Bargan.

The court also junked the petition of private respondent Isidro Lozada of the Caraga Security Agency.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2015, the cases stemmed from the FEO’s allegedly anomalous issuance of licenses from August 2011 to April 2013 for more than 100 AK-47 rifles in favor of four private companies despite incomplete or falsified documents.

Most of the firearms were recovered from members of the New People’s Army during an encounter with government troops in Mindanao in 2014.

The ombudsman had dismissed all the police officials implicated in the case.

Petrasanta, who was once a candidate for PNP chief, is facing a separate complaint for graft before the Sixth Division in connection with the allegedly anomalous courier service deal for gun licenses in 2011.

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