EDITORIAL - Infidelity in the custody of government property

Butch M. Quejada - The Freeman

A former Cebu City policeman is reportedly now being investigated for allegedly selling his service firearm to a woman who turned out to be involved in drugs. The sale of the gun only came to light when the woman was arrested in a buy-bust operation along with her live-in partner and the gun was among the items taken from her possession.

From the foregoing narrative, the question that immediately leaps out is why only the former policeman is being investigated for selling his gun. The former policeman used to be assigned in Cebu City but was transferred to Bohol. It was while serving in Bohol that the former policeman was fired, or permanently dropped from the rolls of the Philippine National Police for a number of infractions.

Since the former policeman apparently did not go AWOL but was dismissed from service, it has to be inferred that his dismissal underwent a process. And if his dismissal underwent a process, it follows that among the steps in that process was to require him to return every item entrusted to him or was in his possession that belonged to the government.

Among such items should have been his service firearm. So the question again is: If the former policeman in question underwent a process of dismissal, why was he not required to return his service firearm. It goes without saying that had he been made to return the gun in his possession, he would not have had a gun to sell to anyone.

This is not to question why the former policeman is being investigated. The question is, why he is being investigated alone? If it is his fault that he did not return the service firearm that was entrusted to him, it is likewise the fault, and perhaps even more so, of the person who allowed him to go without turning over his gun as required by the process.

It is a common complaint within the ranks of the police that there is a shortage of guns to properly equip each and every member of the force. How this shortage came about is not clear.

But from what can be gleaned from the above story, it now becomes entirely possible that such a gun shortage, if it does truly exist, could not have been caused by procurement or budgetary failure alone.

It is now entirely possible that there is a gun shortage in the ranks of the police because there are loopholes in the custodial processes involving guns that either have not been plugged, or deliberately created. The gun in question was reportedly sold for roughly P10,000. If there is little fidelity in the custody of guns in the police force, there will always be a shortage no matter how government may sincerely try to make up for the difference.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with