5 PNP execs seek time to explain 900 missing guns

By Non Alquitran, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 03 2014 10:00 AM | Updated as of Mar 03 2014 06:00 PM

MANILA - Five Philippine National Police (PNP) officials, ordered investigated by President Aquino over 900 missing high-powered firearms, asked for one more week to give their side of the issue.

Director Gil Meneses of the PNP Civil Security Group; Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta of the Police Regional Office 3; Chief Superintendent Tom Rentoy of the Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies; Senior Superintendent Regie Catiis, the executive officer of the PNP Directorate for Comptrollership; and Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto Jr. asked that they be given until Friday to answer the allegations against them.

The five police officials were “invited for questioning” by Criminal Investigation and Detection Group director Chief Superintendent Benjie Magalong over the 900 AK-47 and Armalite rifles procured by a security agency but later could not be found.

Magalong gave the five police officials up to Feb. 23 to present themselves for investigation before CIDG probers, but their lawyer sought a one-week extension on Feb. 28.

Facing court trial

Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas Jr., the PNP Deputy Chief for Administration, warned that should the five officials fail to present their sides on the issue, they will be charged in court.

Rojas stressed that it is still PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima who has the final say on the case against the five officials.

Rentoy officially retired on Feb. 26 while Meneses, who is set to retire in June, has already filed for non-duty status.

Meneses and Petrasanta used to be former directors of the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office while Catiis and Acierto were former chiefs of the licensing division of the PNP-FEO.

Reports showed that Twin Pines Inc., a licensed importer of firearms, gun parts, ammunition and shooting accessories, sold the AK-47 and M-16 Armalite rifles to JTC Mineral Mining Corp., which operates in the Caraga region.

The weapons supposedly were to be used by the mining firm’s security forces tasked to defend its interests against the New People’s Army and other criminals in the region.

However, police officers tasked to conduct a nationwide gun check discovered last year that the weapons were missing from JTC’s inventory.

Initially, the five police officials claimed that the purchase of the high-powered firearms was “aboveboard” and passed all the requirements.

Aquino, however, got wind of the alleged anomaly and ordered Purisima to conduct a deeper investigation.