PNP high officials charged over anomalous issuance of AK47 rifles

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio- Morales has ordered the filing of criminal charges against top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) over the anomalous issuance of firearm licenses for AK47 rifles from August 2011 to April 2013. Charged were Directors Gil Meneses of the Civil Security Group and Napoleon Estilles of the Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO); Chief Supts. Raul Petrasanta, Tomas Rentoy III and Regino Catiis, Sr.; Supts. Eduardo Acierto, Allan Parreño and Nelson Bautista; Chief Insps. Ricardo Zapata, Jr. and Ricky Sumalde; SPO1s Eric Tan and Randy De Sesto, Non-Uniformed Personnel(NUP) Nora Pirote and Sol Bargan, and Isidro Lozada of Caraga Security Agency (Caraga).

In a 39-page order, Morales ordered the immediate filing of cases for multiple counts of violations of the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act” against Estilles and Petrasanta.

The Ombudsman said the officials were found to have conspired in facilitating, processing and approving the applications for firearm licenses of Caraga, Isla Security Agency (Isla), Claver Mineral Development Corporation and JTC Mineral Mining Corporation despite incomplete or falsified applications and supporting documents.

Most of the firearms were also released immediately even when some of the requests for their withdrawal from storage were not signed.

Investigators discovered the following irregularities, among other things: issuance of firearms licenses to Caraga despite an expired license to operate; processing of Caraga’s applications without verifying the number of firearms already issued to it, which resulted in the issuance of licenses beyond the limit allowed by regulation; recommendations for approval of the firearm licenses without proper verification and checking; Meneses’ handwritten notations to expedite processing; and the absence of verification of the identity and capacity of Isla to purchase high-powered firearms.