MANILA - A Palace official backs the filing of charges against Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel tagged in the sale of firearms to the New People's Army (NPA).
"Certainly, if anyone is accountable then they should be put through the correct process so that their guilt can be determined, as well as the punishment," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
"In the hearing of criminal cases, there are aggravating circumstances, as well as mitigating circumstances that help the judges decide on how long your penalty should be within the given range. And, if I am not mistaken, your abuse of position can be taken as an aggravating circumstance," she said.
Valte gave assurances that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is ready to be investigated for any similar occurrences.
"The AFP is always open to investigating issues like this one because...as they continue to strive to improve 'yung professionalism, 'yung institution nila, they do not want issues like this hounding them so they act very quickly on it," she said.
She told the public though that this doesn't speak of the entire institution.
"Let's say a police officer or a soldier is faced with criminal charges, of course, that is not sanctioned by the institution. Kumbaga, siguro doon sa ordinaryong pag-uusap natin, sariling lakad nila 'yon at hindi 'yon tino-tolerate nung kanilang institusyon."
On Thursday, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said it is on the final stages of its probe on the 1,004 AK-47 assault rifles that went missing under the watch of the PNP-Firearms and Explosives Office.
Police Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong, head of the CIDG, said they will file charges against 19 personnel of the PNP and around 10 civilians who they believe played a role in the irregular purchase and licensing of the AK-47s.
He said all 1,004 AK-47s landed in the hands of the New People's Army (NPA) in a sale brokered by a certain Isidro Lozada.