City rounds up service guns-A A +A
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
ABOUT 20 police officials who got service firearms from the Cebu City Government but have been reassigned may be charged if they continue to ignore City Hall’s demand letter asking them to return the guns.
These officers include detained policeman Adonis Dumpit, who is facing a homicide case for allegedly shooting a robbery suspect in 2004.
The policeman, at one point a bodyguard of then mayor Tomas Osmeña, was issued a .357 Magnum revolver in 2008 and a similar handgun in 2009.
Lawyer Pedro Leslie Salva, one of the legal counsels of Dumpit, sees no problem with returning the service firearms.
“I’m sure nga naa ra na kang Dumpit ang armas kay wa man na siya ma-known nga kawatan, manggukod lang hinoon na ug kawatan (Dumpit has never been known to be a thief, although he did run after thieves),” Salva said. “Anyway, dili na sila maglisod pagpangita kang Dumpit (They won’t have a hard time looking for Dumpit).”
Dumpit was reassigned to the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 prior to his detention at Cebu City Jail.
Mayor Michael Rama issued a memorandum last December to all concerned policemen to return their guns to the General Services Office (GSO).
Other police officers who were reassigned to the PRO 7 but allegedly failed to return their service firearms to City Hall include Noe Rondina, Jonas Tahanlangit, Jose Gesto, Henry Orbiso and Lucia Diaz.
Some police officers who were reassigned to the Cebu Provincial Police Office but also reportedly failed to return their service firearms include Allan Cuizon, Joseph Eliseo Yongco and Uldarico Nengasca.
Demand letters were also sent to Richie Posadas (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group), Edmer Abella (Lapu-Lapu City Police Office), Ricardo Albotra and Samuel Romanillos (Bohol Provincial Police Office), Jonathan Abella (Mandaue City Police Office), Arnel Quiros (retired), and Joel Manalili, Aldwin Vicada and Ben Ngujo, who are no longer in the Cebu City Police Office list.
The City Government issued .45, .357, and .38 caliber revolvers to 162 police officers assigned in the city since 1995.
City Hall security consultant Romeo Cordova said they will send a final demand letter to the police officers within this week.
If these police officers still ignore the demand letter, said Cordova, City Hall will be constrained to file a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas against them.
Some City Hall officials have also reportedly lost service firearms issued by the City Government.
Human Resource Development Office (HRDO) chief Veronica Morelos was issued a .38 caliber revolver in 2008.
Morelos said she is still complying with the procedure set by the Commission on Audit (COA).
City Councilor Noel Wenceslao was issued a 9mm pistol in 2005 when he was still the barangay captain of Sambag II.
Wenceslao is asking for a reconsideration from COA, which asked him to pay the current market value of the gun, pegged at P43,000.
The lost service firearm was only worth P21,500 when he received it from the City Government in 2005.
“Mobayad man ko ana pero mangayo sa ko ug reconsideration sa COA kung pwede ba nga ang akong bayran kadto lang market value sa armas pag-acquire nako in 2005 (I will pay, but I will request COA to let me pay the acquisition cost),” Wenceslao said.
Cordova said that City Hall mustn’t be selective in filing a case if officials fail to settle their obligations.
“Bisan kinsa nga dili muoli sa property sa government mapasakaan gyud na sila ug kaso (Whoever fails to return government property will have to face charges),” Cordova said.
Aside from the active officials, former City Accountant Palermo Lugo, former City Hall in-house Ombudsman Orlando Secretario and former City Hall consultant Rene Sanapo also allegedly failed to return their service firearms.
In 2007, the City Government issued a .9mm pistol to Lugo and a .38 caliber revolver to Secretario. Sanapo was issued a 9mm pistol in 2005 and a Colt .38 revolver in 2008.
Former barangay captain Celerino Cabanca Sr. of Bulacao also allegedly failed to return his 9mm pistol issued by the City Government in 2005.
Cordova said he was asked by the mayor to make a follow-up on his memorandum order so that the guns will be properly accounted for.
“Natural ra man na nga magpakabana ang mayor kay iya man nang katungdanan ang pagprotihir sa property sa gobyerno (It’s only natural for the mayor to check, because it’s his responsibility to protect government properties),” Cordova said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 08, 2011.