FESAGS probes demolition row

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Friday, August 8, 2014


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Firearms Explosives Security Agencies and Guard Supervision (FESAGS), a division of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said on Wednesday it is currently investigating the recent shooting incident, which involved a number of security guards and farmers at a 130-hectare farmland at Barangay, Maimpis in this city.

Last July 28, security guards from the Great Star Security Services Inc. shot a group of farmers while conducting a meeting about the ongoing demolition operation in the disputed farmland.

Based on the investigation of FESAGS, the Mandaluyong-based security agency was established last 2007 with its license set to expire on 2015.

The head officers of the Great Star Security Services Inc. were identified as Romeo Aseo (president), Noel Basal (director), and Venchito Pampuna (director).

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Although the security agency was able to secure a permit from the PNP headquarters in Manila, it was not able to submit the required documents to the PNP Central Luzon Office, which may allow them to operate in the region.

The submission of documents, FESAGS said, is needed in order to ascertain whether the weapons are licensed and to ensure that the security guards have undergone sufficient trainings.

"Great Star wasn’t able to comply with the requirement. The presence of the security agency was just discovered when the Maimpis shooting incident already broke out,” said Police Superintendent Sarah Abad, Chief of the FESAGS Central Luzon office.

According to lawyer Anselmo Carlos, former counsel of the Maimpis farmers, members of Great Star Security Services Inc. were not wearing the proper uniform during the shooting incident, which is required for security guards on duty.

Abad said that the FESAGS strictly prohibits security guards who are not in proper attire to carry weapons.

"If you are a security guard and you are not wearing a uniform, then you are not allowed to carry a gun with you. Also, wearing a uniform does not completely allow you to equip yourself with weapons. Supporting documents such as gun license, detain order from the agency, and the guard’s license must always be available upon request,” said Abad.

Anthony Gliban, one of the security guards who were arrested, for example, was not able to present the proper documents, which may allow him to be charged with illegal possession of fire arms.

Abad added that if the investigation would show that the security agency has indeed committed human rights violations, the police may charge Great Star Security Services Inc. with administrative cases, license confiscation, and a fine of at least P50,000.

The security guards, Abad said, are not allowed to hastily use their guns.

"Even the police, soldiers, even high-ranking officials are not allowed to shoot whenever they want, that’s why the police of the City of San Fernando is going to conduct an investigation in order to know what and why it happened," said Abad.

The FESAGS is also going to get the result of the ballistic tests which were conducted on the guns used by the 30 security guard involved in the shooting incident.

"That’s the function of FESAGS, to check on the qualification of the security agencies and to investigate on any untoward incidents involving them," said Abad.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 09, 2014.

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