Freeman Region

Calbayog mayor alleges: Seized guns all “planted”

Primo A. Cayubit, Miriam Garcia Desacada - The Freeman

CALBAYOG CITY, Philippines — At least 40 loose firearms were confiscated by a team of operatives of the Samar Police Provincial Office (SPPO) from the houses of Barangay Chairman Jonel Terga of Patong in Calbayog City, and of his councilman Sonny Tega, last Tuesday.


SPPO director Senior Superintendent Nicolas Torre III told the local media that the raid resulted in the confiscation of unlicensed carbine rifles, .45-caliber pistols, improvised shotguns, revolvers, homemade shotguns, magazines, grenades, and live ammunition. These were submitted to the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory for examinations, he said.

However, Mayor Ronald Aquino who acknowledge that Terga was his political ally, yesterday alleged that the firearms “were all planted,” and the so-called confiscation was “politically motivated,” and done “in retaliation” by Torre, who the City Council earlier declared as “persona non grata” of the city.

The declaration of Torre as persona non grata of Calbayog was prompted by the spate of killings of barangay officials in the city and the recent assassination of the city assistant engineer Rafaelito Serrano, all of which remained unresolved by the police to this day.

Aquino told the media that he himself continues to receive death threats from “unknown personalities,” and even from his friends in the police who alerted him to take precautions for his daily safety and security.

"According to my callers, I should be security-conscious because definitely I will be killed. I already told my family and my wife on what to do... and who are the people behind if something happen to me," the mayor told the media.

Torre however reacted to the allegations of Aquino about “planting” of firearms on the houses of the barangay officials. He lambasted the mayor by saying that the latter’s statement was full of lies, because the raid of the houses were done to implement a search warrant issued by the court.

"We the police are not here to take sides (political) and neither in planting evidences against criminals. We are here to serve and protect Samar province and its people, as mandated by the PNP law," Torre said.

He added that more search warrants will be implemented in the next few days, as the SPPO will carry out its task to run after loose firearms in the province, especially in Calbayog City and Sta. Margarita town, where shootings and killings continue to occur.

Meanwhile, Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos, newly installed regional director of the Police Regional Office-8, refused to issue any comment to the media about the allegations of Aquino, except by saying that his command is determined to run after loose firearms in the province, to neutralize killing incidents here.

Carlos, who assumed his post last August 10, told reporters in a press conference held in Tacloban City, said the proliferation of loose firearms is the reason why shootings happen.

He also presented to the media the firearms seized from the house of the barangay official in Calbayog, adding that the raid was carried out by virtue of a search warrant issued by Judge Agerico Avila of the Regional Trial Court-branch 29 in Catbalogan City.

Carlos said he had ordered Torre to intensify the campaign against loose firearms in Samar. “The SPPO is conducting operations to remove these firearms. Shooting incidents could be avoided without these tools,” he said.

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