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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

CHARGES for illegal possession of firearms and explosives were filed against two absentee cops and a civilian tagged in the robbery of two delivery vans in Aklan last week.

 

The cases against SPO1 Rex Delos Reyes and PO1 Jeremiah Pilapil of Iloilo City, and Delos Reyes’ younger brother Julius were filed with the Antique Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.

 

Antique Provincial Prosecutor Cesar Dan Alicanto said the trio has 10 days to file their counter-affidavits to five counts of illegal possession of firearms, illegal possession of ammunitions and 33 counts of illegal possession of explosives.

 

Alicanto said the suspects refused to undergo inquest proceedings and opted to file their counter affidavits.

 

The delos Reyes brothers and Pilapil were arrested in a checkpoint mounted by the Pandan police station in northern Antique Friday afternoon last week.

 

They were riding in delos Reyes’ black car when flagged down by the Pandan police.

 

The Pandan PNP conducted checkpoint at Brgy. Hinalinan, Pandan after the Buruanga PNP sent a flash alarm relative to the robbery of two delivery vans.

 

The Pandan PNP recovered the following items from the suspects: M79 grenade launcher with telescope, Uzi machine pistol with silencer, 12-gauge shotgun, .45 caliber pistol, .22 caliber pistol, eight assorted hand grenades, 26 rounds of 40mm live ammunitions of M79, seven rounds of .45 caliber ammunitions, five 12-gauge shotgun ammunitions, 100 rounds of 9mm ammunitions, two rounds of .22 caliber ammunitions, six magazine for Uzi pistol, one .45 pistol holster, six magazines pouch for M79, and six car plate numbers.

 

According to C/Supt Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, SPO1 delos Reyes is one of the police officers reassigned to Mindanao for alleged involvement in illegal activities.

 

Department of Justice Sec. Raul Gonzalez also tagged SPO1 delos Reyes in extortion activities and the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB).

 

Delos Reyes, who went absent without leave (AWOL) from the PNP, filed a P5-million libel suit against Gonzalez last year.

 

According to his family in Brgy. Don Esteban, Lapuz, Iloilo City, Pilapil went AWOL from his last assignment in Sta. Barbara PNP to prepare for his work abroad.

 

Atty. Plaridel Nava, delos Reyes’ counsel, said the case against his client has many technical errors.

 

Nava also defended his client saying the latter did not go to Aklan nor did he carry a cache of firearms and explosives in his car.

 

Cuevas said they are probing deeper into reports that delos Reyes was involved in the death of PO2 Frederick Capasao, who was formerly assigned with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, two years ago.

 

Delos Reyes, who was formerly assigned at the Regional Intelligence and Investigation Division (RIID) of PRO-6, is also being tagged in the shooting to death of Rustico Vega, service manager of Honda Cars-Iloilo, early this year.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ALLEGED kidnap victim James Ardaña will face criminal charges if proven that his abduction was a sham.

 

S/Supt. Cornelio Defensor, chief of the Regional Intelligence Unit of Police Regional Office 6 (PRO6), said they are digging deeper into Ardaña’s case to find out if it’s a kidnapping case or “a drama.”

 

Defensor said Ardaña can be charged if they find out that he only staged his own kidnapping last Holy Thursday, April 9, in Brgy. Udyong, Sibalom, Antique.

 

Earlier reports said Ardaña was spotted in San Jose, the capital town of Antique. Other reports said he goes home in Sibalom late in the evening and leaves early morning.

 

Defensor said they are not sure if the incident was a kidnapping case. If ever it was, it is not the handiwork of a kidnap for ransom gang.

 

Defensor said there should be an ongoing negotiation if Ardaña was indeed kidnapped.

 

Ardaña’s family claimed that the kidnappers demanded P15 million but it was lowered to P4 million.

 

Several angles are being eyed in Ardaña’s case – kidnapping for ransom, “kidnap” to evade the rape case filed against him and business rivalry.

 

Defensor said Ardaña could be dead by now if a business rival is behind his kidnapping.

 

By Albert T. Mamora and Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THERE seems to be no end in the twists and turns in the kidnapping of a businessman in Antique.

 

Investigators are now leaning towards the angle of business rivalry as the motive for the abduction of businessman James Ardaña in Sibalom, Antique Holy Thursday last week.

 

This, after the Antique Provincial Police Office (APPO) “arrested” one of the suspects who faked a motorcycle accident and forcibly took Ardaña at Crossing Aldea in Brgy. Udyong, Sibalom.

 

Ardaña’s borther June positively identified a certain Dionisio Pajarito of Brgy. Nagdayaw, Sibalom as one of the alleged kidnappers.

 

June said Pajarito posed as the injured person in the fake motorcycle accident.

 

The police did not file charges against Pajarito, whom they later freed, for they still need more evidence.

 

But the National Bureau of Investigation took custody of Pajarito and brought him to Iloilo City.

 

Pajarito is believed to be a right-hand man of a businessman who is also in Antique politics.

 

Pajarito’s patron is believed to be a former business partner of Ardaña before they had a falling out which spawned a bitter rivalry.

 

Antique police director Ren Darroca said they invited the former business partner of Ardaña for questioning but the latter referred the investigators to his lawyer.

 

Police officials in Camp Delgado said this business rivalry could be the motive for Ardaña’s kidnapping.

 

The mastermind may have also used the rape case filed against Ardaña in order to cover their tracks, PRO-6 officials said.

 

Another angle being considered by the police is “kidnap me” so that Ardaña will evade the pending warrant of arrest against him.

 

Antique Governor Salvacio Perez said over Bombo Radyo-Iloilo that Ardaña’s kidnapping is an isolated case.

 

“Based on the investigation of the Antique provincial police, the most likely motive in the case is business rivalry. This is a work of amateurs and it is possible that the suspects are from Antique,” Perez said.

 

The police, with help from the National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine Anti-Crime Emergency Response, released the cartographic sketch of the suspects based on June Ardaña’s descriptions.

 

The whereabouts and condition of Ardaña remains unknown as the kidnappers have not called his wife Gloria to discuss any demand.

 

The kidnappers earlier demanded a P15-million ransom for the safe release of Ardaña.

 

As regards the report that a businessman engaged in construction and hardware trading is the original target of a kidnap-for-ransom group, the Antique police said this information first surfaced in January 2009.

 

APPO sources said a group of Hiligaynon speaking men was monitored in Antique but they later left.

By Albert T. Mamora and Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

MORE questions are being asked about the Ardaña kidnapping in Antique. Here is the latest: Was Antique merchant James Ardaña the target of a kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) group or was just mistaken for another businessman in Antique?

 

Earlier reports speculated that Ardaña made himself disappear to avoid a rape case.

 

Intelligence community sources claimed Ardaña was not the real target of alleged KFR members but another prominent person in Antique.

 

The sources, who sought anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the subject, said Ardaña’s name did not surface in the intelligence reports they received about a KFR group that will strike during Holy Week.     

 

The real target was a trader of motor engines and a favored contractor of an Antique politician, the sources said.

 

The Daily Guardian tried to verify the report with the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) and the Antique Provincial Police Office (APPO) but a news blackout has been imposed on the Ardaña kidnapping case.

 

The blackout was enforced following reports that a team from the Presidential Anti-Crime Emergency Response (Pacer) arrived in Antique province Wednesday.

 

The Pacer members joined the investigation initiated by Task Force Ardaña composed of the PRO-6 and APPO.

 

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is also conducting a separate investigation on the incident.

 

Latest information from the capital town of San Jose said the Pacer and the PNP have invited an unidentified person for investigation. Whether he is considered a suspect or a witness is not clear because the APPO refused to give details.

 

PRO-6 director Isagani Cuevas did not respond to requests for an interview because he was in the middle of a staff conference in Camp Delgado yesterday.

 

Cuevas has ordered TF Ardaña to dig deeper into the case. Sr/Supt. Artemio Hicban, PRO-6 deputy director for administration, and Supt. Cornelio Defensor, Regional Intelligence Division chief, are leading the task force.

 

APPO director Ren Darroca earlier quoted Ardaña’s wife as saying that the kidnappers demanded P15 million for his release.

 

Darroca said the incident could also be related to the rape case filed against Ardaña by their former house help.

 

Three angles are being entertained in the case of Ardaña: abduction and revenge, kidnap for ransom or “kidnap me.”

 

Ardaña engages in transportation business and a distributor of farm inputs in northern Antique.

FOR BRAVERY. PRO-6 director Isagani Cuevas pins the Medalya ng Papuri on PO3 Abondio Diaz of the Special Weapons and Tactics team inside his room at St. Paul’s Hospital Wednesday afternoon. The PRO-6 also extended special assistance to Diaz who was severely wounded in a grenade explosion inside their office Tuesday morning. (Photo by Tara Yap)

FOR BRAVERY. PRO-6 director Isagani Cuevas pins the Medalya ng Papuri on PO3 Abondio Diaz of the Special Weapons and Tactics team inside his room at St. Paul’s Hospital Wednesday afternoon. The PRO-6 also extended special assistance to Diaz who was severely wounded in a grenade explosion inside their office Tuesday morning. (Photo by Tara Yap)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Police Regional Office (PRO-6) said Wednesday that the PNP organization is partly to be blamed for the death of SPO3 Rafael Managuit, team leader of the Explosives and Ordnance Division (EOD).

 

Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, said the PNP is unable to provide all the equipment needed by its personnel in performing their duties, particularly the EOD.

 

“The PNP organization also had some misgivings since our poverty rendered us unable to provide the facilities and equipment that an EOD member needs,” Cuevas said.

 

Cuevas said the Iloilo City EOD team lacks basic facilities such as a magazine or a closed concrete structure that serves as storage area for explosives and other deadly items.

 

“During the time of the Philippine Constabulary, each unit was required to have its own magazine. All potentially deadly items such as bombs are stored in the magazine. Even if the items inside explode, the police and civilians would still be safe because it is made of reinforced concrete. We don’t have that here in the city,” Cuevas said.

 

He added only the Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental provincial police offices have magazines.

 

“We already need that magazine in Iloilo City that’s why I talked to Mayor Jerry Treñas if we could look for an area where we can put up the magazine,” the PRO-6 chief averred.

 

Aside from the storage area, the EOD also needs bomb baskets, armored suits and other equipment used in retrieving and detonating explosives.

 

Cuevas said bomb disposal protocols dictate that explosives should be disposed of immediately unless needed as evidence in criminal cases and court hearings.   

 

“If the explosive will be used as evidence in cases, it should be stored in a magazine which we lack. Our EOD members are very enthusiastic in recovering these explosives which they tend to appreciate more by examining the items. In the case of Managuit, it suddenly went off and killed him,” he added.

 

The lack of bomb disposal equipment was highlighted when the EOD and Special Weapons and Tactics team detonated a grenade recovered from the flood control project in Jaro, Iloilo City by shooting it with a rifle from afar.

 

Treñas had said he will find ways to purchase bomb disposal equipment used by highly-urbanized cities such as armored suits and retrieval and transport equipment.  

ICPO intelligence hit for sub-par performance

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Police Regional Office (PRO-6) has called the attention of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) to its below par intelligence gathering efforts following the spate of car thefts and robberies in the city.

 

Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, said the ICPO should improve its intelligence operations to prevent criminals from striking once more.

 

Cuevas said intelligence work is vital to crime prevention as information on the plans of criminals will keep the police ahead of things.

 

The PRO-6 chief said he will make ICPO officials explain the “failure of intelligence” plaguing the unit.

 

The ICPO Intelligence Section (S2) is headed by the controversial Chief Insp. Musa Amiyong.

 

ICPO deputy director Eugenio Espejo agreed with Cuevas’ observation that their office is beset with “lousy intelligence” work.

 

But Espejo said they have created a special group within S2 to track down thieves and robbers operating in the city.

 

Amiyong who has linked to several controversies said they are working overtime to gather more information on criminals in the city.

 

He said he will explain everything to Cuevas when summoned to the regional headquarters.   

 

Amiyong has been tagged in the illegal drug trade and the killing of PO2 Frederick Capasao, a former member of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. He denied the accusations and dared his critics to prove their claims.

 

Amiyong’s occupation of S2 has been questioned by some police officials who said a police superintendent should head such sensitive post based on PNP regulations.

 

Last Wednesday evening, three “bukas kotse” incidents happened in Iloilo City – two in Mandurriao and one in Iloilo City proper.

 

ICPO records show that a total of 12 bukas kotse cases have occurred in the metropolis this year. Mandurriao district tops the list with 6 cases, Iloilo City proper with three incidents, LaPaz with 2 cases and Molo with 1.

 

Espejo said bukas kotse operations are mounted by a gang of 20 persons, including 4 women, divided into 4 teams.

 

The female members act as lookouts ase their male companions smash glass windows of cars with a rock wrapped in cloth. They then strip the cars of valuables such as laptop computers and cellphones.

 

Espejo said they have identified the members of the bukas kotse gang in the city.

Amiyong twits solon on illegal drugs yarn

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE chief intelligence officer of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) is willing to lose his job if his detractors can prove that he is peddling illegal drugs.

 

Chief Inspector Musa Amiyong, ICPO intelligence section (S2) head, said he is challenging his critics to show proof that he is a rogue cop in cahoots with drug syndicates.

 

Amiyong in particular dared Iloilo 5th district Rep. Niel “Jun-Jun” Tupas Jr. to buttress the intelligence report linking the former to the illegal drugs trade.

 

“They have an intelligence report then he should prove it. If they have proof, they can charge and have me removed from the service. I am willing to face that if they have sufficient evidence,” Amiyong said.

 

The intelligence report tagged Amiyong in the illegal drugs trade in the municipality of Estancia which is part of Tupas’ district.

 

Amiyong also dared Tupas to pinpoint the drug lords and pushers he is dealing with.

 

“If I am indeed into illegal drugs, I cannot just get shabu from Estancia, throw them to the ground and let drug addicts pick them up. They must prove that I have associates in this alleged illicit business,” Amiyong added.

 

The ICPO-S2 chief also threw the same challenge to his detractors who linked him to the slaying of PO2 Frederick Capasao two years ago.

 

Capasao, who was detailed to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, was shot to death in front of their house reportedly because of his campaign against illegal drugs.

 

Tupas revealed during the congressional hearing on the Balasan Boys controversy two weeks ago an intelligence report linking a chief inspector and three other police officers to Capasao’s murder.

 

But the congressman did not name the persons in the report which came from the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) of the Police Regional Office-6 based in Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City.

 

Amiyong said the PNP should investigate how a confidential intelligence report got into the hands of individuals outside of the PNP.

 

“In the first place, how did it get out of RID? Maybe Rep. Tupas has his own sources reason why he got hold of the document,” Amiyong said.

 

M16 RIFLE VS THIEVES

 

Amiyong also clarified reports that he requested M16 Armalite rifles which they will use to neutralize robbers and thieves preying on Iloilo City.

 

Amiyong said the issue cropped up after he borrowed M16 rifles from the ICPO armory for their operation Monday against a robbery group planning to hit a business establishment in the city.

 

“We borrowed the rifles because the suspects have high-powered firearms while the police only have pistols. We are not allowed to carry M16 because of the one officer-one firearm policy,” he said.

 

Amiyong said he later requested Senior Supt. Melvin Mongcal, ICPO director, to ask Iloilo City Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr. to buy more M16 rifles for the ICPO.

 

Mongcal said he tasked Amiyong to lead a team that will collar thieves and hired killers in the city.

 

“The M16 rifles were issued to the team on activity basis. In fact, we were able to foil an attempt to rob another business establishment because of that operation. Chief Insp. Amiyong has not slept because of their follow operations,” Mongcal said.

 

The ICPO intelligence section under Amiyong’s charge has been criticized for failure to preempt the spate of robberies and killings that happened in the city since late last year.

 

Last year, Amiyong was also charged with criminal and administrative raps for shooting two persons whom he allegedly hired to bomb the equipment of a contractor of the Iloilo flood control project. Amiyong had denied the accusations including the alleged bombing of the Korean contractor’s equipment.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Police Regional Office (PRO-6) cannot sue the police officers allegedly involved in the death of a police officer who was at the forefront of the anti-illegal drugs campaign in Iloilo City.

 

Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, said they have no witnesses who can tag four police personnel in the death of PO2 Frederick Capasao more than two years ago.

 

Capasao, who was once assigned at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (Pdea), was gunned down in front of their home in LaPaz, Iloilo City.

 

An intelligence report pointed to four police officers – one chief inspector, two police officers 2 and a police officer 1 – of having a hand in Capasao’s death.

 

The report dated February 16, 2008 came from the Regional Intelligence Division headed by Senior Supt. Cornelio Defensor.

 

Cuevas said he read the intelligence report which became the basis of an investigation mounted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

 

“I had the report validated by ordering the CIDG to investigate the case in coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation which was able to get some witnesses,” Cuevas said.

 

But none of the witnesses, Cuevas said, was willing to execute sworn affidavits which can be used as evidence against the four police officers.

 

Even the wife of Capasao, Marisol, was afraid to issue her sworn statement, the PRO-6 chief said.

 

Cuevas said they cannot determine if the four police officers indeed killed Capasao or were just accomplices.

 

Capasao is one of the police officers responsible for the arrest of suspected drug suspect Cairoden Abdullah in 2005.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ARE the bullets issued to the PNP Regional Mobile Group (RMG-6) based in Victorias City, Negros Occidental substandard?

 

This question will be answered once the Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) has finished evaluating the live M-16 bullets issued to RMG-6 members found in the ambush site at Brgy. Estado, Victorias City Wednesday afternoon.

 

The ambush mounted by the New People’s Army resulted in the death of PO1 Jean Tacadao of San Lorenzo, Guimaras and wounded Police Officers 1 Annie Lou Patricio, Jocelyn Tibar, Marife Cantomayor and Melanie Tupas.

 

Reports from Bacolod City said Supt. Remus Zacharias Canieso, RMG-6 director, only had magazine left in his M-16 Armalite rifle when reinforcements arrived at the ambush scene.

 

Canieso and the surviving RMG-6 members said most of their bullets did not fire as they fought back the rebels.

 

But Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office-6 director, said they cannot conclude yet if the bullets issued to the RMG-6 were substandard amidst reports these were manufactured in China.

 

Cuevas said they are evaluating the ammunitions and other possible factors why the bullets did not fire.

 

The PRO-6 chief said suppliers of bullets and firearms comply with the standards set by the PNP national command.

 

“Everything is being looked into right now. There are many factors that might have resulted in the dud bullets. We can’t conclude that these ammunitions are substandard. We are evaluating all possible causes,” he added.

 

Cuevas yesterday awarded the PNP Wounded Personnel Medals to the four injured RMG members for their bravery during ambush.

 

The awarding was held at the Our Lady of Mercy Hospital in Bacolod City where the wounded police officers are recuperating.

 

Cuevas also ordered the whole PRO-6 to stay alert for future rebel attacks as the Communist Party of the Philippines is set to celebrate its anniversary December 26.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office (Noppo) recommended the filing of criminal cases against five police trainors for the alleged hazing of 52 police trainees inside the 6th Regional Mobile Group headquarters in Victorias City, Negros Occidental.

 

Senior Supt. Rosendo Franco, Noppo director, said they will file charges of less serious physical injuries against Inspectors Stephen Somosot and Dianne Grace Aquitania, Police Officers 1 Cherry Lacson, Jean Hiponia and Joemarie Arboleda.

 

Franco said they based their recommendation on the results of the medical examination on police trainees who complained they were subjected to hazing by their trainors.

 

The 52 trainees, who underwent Special Counter-Insurgency Course Training inside Camp Aniceto Lacson, suffered hematoma and contusions, the medical examination showed.

 

The trainees claimed their trainors hit them with sticks, PVC and GI pipes and wood during their training.

 

Earlier, Supt. Remus Zacharias Canieso, 6th RMG director, recommended the filing of grave misconduct charge against Somosot, Lacson, Hiponia and Arboleda while Aquitania was charged with neglect of duty.

 

Franco said they will submit their recommendation to Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office-6 director.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

TEN police trainors were relieved from the 6th Regional Mobile Group training center in Victorias City, Negros Occidental due to alleged hazing which victimized more than 50 police trainees.

 

Supt. Remus Canieso RMG battalion commander, confirmed that 52 police officers undergoing special counter-insurgency training in Camp Aniceto Lacson either suffered injuries or got sick in the course of the training.

 

Canieso said they discovered the medical condition of the trainees during their medical tests Friday last week.

 

Complaints of hazing from the police trainees triggered the medical examination conducted at the Teresita Jalandoni Memorial Hospital.

 

Canieso said 23 female trainees and 29 male trainees suffered hematoma in various parts of their bodies possibly caused by blunt objects.

 

The RMG chief has ordered the relief of 10 trainors – Insp. Stephen Sumusot, Insp. Diane Grace Aquitaña, Police Officers 1 Jean Hiponia, Annie Rose Tupas, Cherry Lacson, Ma. Lowelyn Moise, Marife Cantomayor, Rhea Biasa, Rhia Oñate and Rowena Pimentel.

 

Canieso said the trainors are now restricted at Camp Aniceto Lacson pending the investigation on the alleged hazing.

 

“This is not a normal practice of the PNP that is why we have laws against these practices. It is for this reason, also, that we are placing our instructors under investigation. In fact, they were already restricted to camp,” Canieso said.

 

The RMG chief said the trainors could face administrative and criminal raps if proven that they engaged in hazing.

 

Last October, a police trainee identified as Police Officer 1 Tristan Lopez died during a routine exercise outside the camp.

 

The National Bureau of Investigation and the PNP have been conducting separate investigations into Lopez’s death.

 

Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office-6 director, said they are now trying to find out the possible link of the alleged hazing at the training camp to Lopez’s death.

 

“Some tactical instructors and trainers think hazing is helpful for the officers, but we are still determining whether it is true or not. We will file appropriate charges if lapses and negligence were committed,” Cuevas said.

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