DOJ dismisses case vs alleged 'laglag bala' perpetrators

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed the cases filed against the suspected perpetrators of the bullet-planting scheme in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) who allegedly victimized American missionary Lane Michael White last September.

In a resolution released on Thursday approved by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, the DOJ stated that there is "no probable cause" to charge Office Transportation Security (OTS) officers Maria Elma Cena, Marvin Garcia and Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (PNP-AVSEGROUP) officers Police Inspector Adriano Junio, SPO4 Ramon Bernardo, SPO2 Rolando Clarin, SPO2 Rolando Clarin and SPO2 Romy Navarro.

The six airport personnel were charged after White filed a complaint before the DOJ claiming to have been victimized by the bullet-planting scheme.

Garcia and Cena were charged for planting evidence under Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act while the police officers were charged with robbery and extortion and violation of Republic Act 7438 or the Act Defining Certain Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation and Duties of the Arresting, Detaining or Investigating Officers. They were also charged with graft.

In a 12-page resolution, the DOJ ruled that there is not enough evidence to show that respondents could be held liable for the charges.

DOJ also said that there is no sufficient evidence as well to charge police officers Clarin, Junio, Bernardo, Navarro for violations of Article V, Section 38 (Liability for Planting Evidence) of RA 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act); robbery/extortion; and violations of RA 7438 and RA 3019.

On September 17, White was caught carrying a .22-cal. bullet in his luggage while he and his family were about to fly to Coron, Palawan, where they plan to build a church. The PNP-AVSEGROUP charged him for bullet possession and held him in the detention cell for six days.

In the preliminary investigation, White claimed that his refusal to give P30,000 demanded by OTS personnel in exchange for his release led to the filing of illegal possession of ammunition charges against him in a Pasay City court.

White was eventually freed after Judge Pedro Gutierrez of Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 119 allowed him to post bail and reduced the required amount from P80,000 to P40,000. (Sunnex)
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