Men cry foul over arrest-A A +A
By Riz P. Sunio
Friday, June 6, 2014
EIGHT men accused of possessing illegal firearms and suspected illegal substance (marijuana) claimed they were arrested without warrant and their houses even tore down and demolished after the law enforcers searched two villages in Cagayan de Oro City early Thursday morning.
The separate operations were carried out by two teams, headed by Senior Inspector Evan Viñas, station commander of the Agora police, who raided five homes with search warrant no. 2014-021 in violation of R.A. 10591 or possession of illegal firearms penned by Judge Dennis Alcantar of Branch 18 of the Regional Trial Court, in a compound in Barangay Upper Macasandig and Lower Sampong in Barangay Indahag.
The teams confiscated two .45 caliber guns, five .38 caliber revolvers, assorted bullets for revolvers and shotguns, two hand grenades, three improvised shotguns, and two flares.
Police said all the seized firearms were unlicensed. Five sticks and three sachets of marijuana were also taken from the suspects.
The firearms were suspected to have been smuggled, said PO3 Jeffrey Mondejar of the Agora police.
Mondejar told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that the weapons could possibly be linked with the recent shootout incidents in the city.
Viñas said they went through the only gate of the compound broke it open.
Guarding the gate was a man who isn't a security guard but was carrying a gun, he said. The lookout did not resist and let the police come in.
During the search operations, law enforcers arrested Maldwyn Valdehueza, Ronald Valdehueza, Jun Rey Calimpas, Leony Clapero, Domingo Morga, Joseph Ordaneza, Tirso Garcia, and Benson Rayos, who are now detained at the Agora police station.
Viñas said they surprised the suspects to avoid any exchange of fire.
He said they couldn't pinned the motive behind the possession of the arms except that it could be linked to some syndicate involved in committing robbery, holdup, and extortion.
However, the eight men arrested claimed that the weapons and drugs were not theirs and those could have only been planted in their homes to set them up.
They also complained that the police team did not show a search warrant. They were also tackled to the ground and cuffed immediately.
“Search lang ang ilang gi-ingon. Pero gipangguba ang among balay (They only told us about the search, but they tore down our houses),” Calimpas said.
“Wala gani ko kasayod na nay armas sa akong balay. Dili gani ko ga-sigarilyo (I don’t even know that there were guns my own house. I don’t even smoke),” Maldwyn Valdehueza told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
“Bisan ipa-drug test pa nila ako (even if they have me drug tested),” he added.
He also added that there were individuals present in the operations that did not have anything to do with the search such as retired Senior Superintendent Antonio Montalba and a certain Jacinto Taala Jr. who Valdehueza claimed to also have been carrying a gun.
He said there have been disputes with the land their houses are built on adding he was charged with qualified trespassing, violation of the national building code, usurpation of real rights, and grave threats but were then dismissed by the prosecutor.
Valdehueza said his son was also accused of shooting but when he was subjected to paraffin test, the result was negative.
He stressed that there were attempts to take their land away from them, and the search operations might have been a way to get rid of them.
“That is our land. That was named after my parents,” Valdehueza said. “My conscience is clear.”
Morga said that that morning he was sleeping with his family when the raid happened.
When the police arrived, he was shocked to find the guns under his bed.
Morga said it suspiciously appeared there. Guns were found in the windows, couches, and other places of their houses.
“I only sell meat. Why would I have grenades in my house? We are not rebels,” he said.
Ordaneza said he was also detained even though he just passed by the area when police raided it.
Clapero, a reserve of the Philippine Air Force, said he does not have a personal gun but only has one for work.
“We know the laws. We live by the laws. Why would they accuse us of the illegal? We need to prove that we are good individuals,” Clapero said.
Garcia said their families are still in the demolished area.
Because the search warrant for the operations was not immediately shown to them, the eight men said they felt harassed.
Valdehueza appeals to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD), and even Department of Interior and Local Governance (DILG) to see them and hear their clamors about the harassment, their torn down houses, and even the alleged harassment to their families.
Viñas said that previously they confiscated illegally acquired firearms last quarter, when they seized a .45 caliber gun. Yesterday’s recent search operations had more arms, he added.
He also said that the suspects along with the arms will be turned over to Judge Alcantar.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 06, 2014.