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Town dad suspended over unreturned gun

Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - February 12, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has suspended a Pinamungajan, Cebu town councilor for one year without pay for his failure to return his service firearm despite repeated demands by the municipality.

Aside from the suspension, Jeffrey Anthony Yapha was given a stern warning that repetition of the same offense would be dealt with more severely.

“For failing to return his service firearm despite repeated demands by its owner-the municipality of Pinamungajan, respondent Yapha is guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. His obstinate refusal to surrender the firearm despite formal demands by higher authority is likewise constitutive of gross insubordination,” read the decision penned by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer 1 Eileen Mae Lagat-Alde.

The Ombudsman directed Department of Interior and Local Government-7 Director Ananias Villacorta to implement the suspension.

In his complaint, Jose Gilson Fedrequilan alleged that on July 22, 2010, Yapha was issued a 9 mm Tanfaglio pistol with serial No. AB 27252, a gun case, extra magazine, and a training kit, all amounting to P24,750, upon the approval of then mayor Geraldine Yapha.

Fedrequilan said that on July 20, 2012, the Firearm Licensing Division, Firearms and Explosives Office of Camp Crame in Quezon City sent the town a letter informing it about the expired licenses of firearms registered under its agency.

In response, Mayor Glenn Baricuatro issued a July 1, 2013 memorandum directing that all government service vehicles and firearms be turned over on or before July 5, 2013.

Fedrequilan said municipal treasurer Ursula Managaytay then thrice issued Yapha a notice for expired firearms, ordering him to turn over the issued firearm issued, but she received no response. This prompted the filing of a administrative complaint for malversation of public funds or property against Yapha.

In an interview, Yapha denied that he “malversed” the firearm issued to him. He claimed that he was in the process of renewing the license of the firearm but due to “time constraints” he was yet to complete submitting all the he requirement of going to Manila.

Yapha said he still has the firearm in his possession because he is still an incumbent councilor. He added that the firearm was in his office and that he will voluntarily submit it to the Ombudsman if so required.

Alde gave more weight to the complaint, however, and ruled in favor of the town. She said that because Yapha failed to produce the firearm upon demand, he committed insubordination and an act prejudicial to the best interest of the service of the interest of Pinamungajan. — (FREEMAN)

DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT DIRECTOR ANANIAS VILLACORTA EILEEN MAE LAGAT-ALDE FEDREQUILAN FIREARM FIREARM LICENSING DIVISION FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES OFFICE OF CAMP CRAME GERALDINE YAPHA PINAMUNGAJAN YAPHA
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