MANILA, Philippines - At least 63 short firearms imported by a private gun dealer and kept in the storage facilities of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) at Camp Crame in Quezon City have been confirmed to be missing, an official said yesterday.
FEO chief Senior Superintendent Roberto Po said at least 10 FEO personnel were placed under investigation after the loss was discovered on Wednesday.
An employee of Juavi Gun Store, who confessed to taking the guns, has been turned over to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for further investigation, Po said.
“The owner of Juavi Gun Store complained that 63 of their firearms, mostly pistols like the Caracal 9mm, were missing,” Po told The STAR. “We are going to conduct an inventory (of the guns) in the storage facilities as against the official records in the FEO.”
Po denied reports that the missing firearms were 250 Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine guns worth P400,000.
The disappearance of the short firearms came even before some 900 missing rifles could be accounted for.
In January, President Aquino ordered PNP officials investigated for their role in the disappearance of 900 AK-47 and M-16 rifles from the inventory of a mining firm.
‘No cops involved’
The FEO chief said that based on the initial information, the crime was perpetrated only by the employee.
“Although there was no police officer involved in the crime, I believe there are at least 10 FEO personnel will be investigated for their administrative liability,” he said.
Po said the probe would establish how the employee managed to bring out the short firearms from the storage facilities without being noticed by the staff on duty.
“The employee confessed to stealing the guns. What we want to know is how he got them out. Did he disassemble them or keep them in his pants?” he said.
Under FEO procedures, all registered gun dealers are required to store their imported firearms at the FEO storage facilities at the back of the FEO building. Any firearm should be documented before it can be released from the FEO premises.
However, some gun dealers have reportedly used their connection to ranking police officials, who would call storage facility personnel and order them to immediately release the guns.