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City Hall bought phony rifles – manufacturer

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

A US-based manufacturer said the five rifles bought by the Iloilo City government for the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team might be fakes, according to a city councilor.

 

Councilor Perla Zulueta said she received transcripts of email exchanges between her undisclosed source and a certain George W. Holloway who is in-charge of Law Enforcement and Government Sales of gun manufacturer Olympic Arms, Inc.

 

Zulueta said the emails indicate that the supposed K23B “Stubby” rifles acquired to beef up the SWAT have different specifications from what Olympic Arms manufacture and sell.

 

Holloway said a factory K23B would have a 1×7 twist barrel. The rifles the City Government bought from R. Espineli Trading had 1×9 twist barrel.

 

“If they are in fact 1×9 (twist barrel) they are fake,” Holloway said in his email message dated December 6, 2008.

 

A barrel twist of 1×7, which is also similar to “1 in 7”, means a projectile traveling down the barrel rotates one complete turn around its own axis in 7 inches. The twist barrel stabilizes the bullet when fired from a gun.

 

Holloway’s statement backs the contention of Zulueta that the SWAT rifles did not follow Olympic Arms specifications.

 

“The discrepancies lie on the different twist barrel which is 1×7 in the original firearm while the rifles bought by the City Government had 1×9. The rifles must be full automatic while the fakes are semi-automatic, Zulueta said.

 

As regards the purchase and export of firearms from Olympic Arms to the Philippines, Holloway said orders must be made through an export company like ETSS or World Wide Sports.

 

“They are able to handle the export/import of these weapons and are on file with us as dealers. We are not able to directly send product to the PI (Philippine Islands) because of the policies of the US State Department,” Holloway said.

 

The Olympic Arms executive said all firearms exported from the US are full automatic unlike the ones purchased by City Hall which are semi-automatic.

 

The serial numbers of genuine Olympic Arms items, Holloway said, have a “DE # # # # serial number range.”

 

“There may possibly some that have a ‘E # # # # number range’, but anything more than four numbers is for sure a fake,” Holloway added in another email dated December 10.

 

Zulueta said the serial number is another indication that the rifles purchased by City Hall are fake because their serial number starts with the letters BPNP instead of the DE or E number range.

 

The City Government through the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) headed by Atty. Edgardo Gil, city legal officer, bought the five rifles from Espineli for P675,000.

 

The Bacolod City-based Espineli, which was represented by a certain Roberto Herbolario, claims to be an accredited distributor of Olympic Arms in the country.

 

Herbolario reportedly returned the City Government’s money after the controversy was exposed in the media.

 

The firearms have also been returned to the supplier but Zulueta said the City Council will still investigate the issue in an executive session with the key BAC members.

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

IF you can’t follow orders, quit.

 

This is one advice that Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, conveyed to Senior Insp. Virgilio Buena after the latter decried his relief from the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) because of sexual harassment charges.

 

A fuming Cuevas said Buena’s relief from the ICPO and transfer to the Iloilo Provincial Police Office is part of due process the PRO-6 is observing relative to the charges against him.

 

Buena is accused of fondling and inducing a female casual employee of the City government detailed at the LaPaz police station, charges which he denied.

 

Buena had earlier said that he was relieved abruptly based on unfounded accusations spreading via text messages. He also hit the culture of harassment within the ICPO and the PNP which demoralizes lower ranking cops.

 

The former ICPO operations officer even urged non-commissioned police officers to unite against this culture of harassment in the disorganized ICPO.

 

Cuevas shot back at Buena calling the latter an abusive officer for his involvement in numerous controversies.

 

The PRO-6 chief said the decision to remove Buena from ICPO is not his alone but a policy imposed by the PNP organization if one of its officers in facing charges or involved in controversies.

 

Cuevas said Buena should have been relieved by his superior officer, ICPO officer-in-charge, Supt. Eugenio Espejo.

 

“Everybody is covered by this policy and Buena knows that. It’s part of due process because his superior did not act immediately. If he wants due process, he should attend the hearings if a case is filed against him. If he cannot stand the policies of the PRO-6, he can leave the PNP,” Cuevas said.

 

Cuevas said it is normal to relieve police officers who are facing charges so they cannot influence the outcome of the investigation and also to protect the complainant.

 

“It would be hard for the complainant to pursue the case if the accused is keeping a watchful eye on the investigation,” he added.

 

TREÑAS: SHUT UP

 

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas told Buena to shut up and stop criticizing the ICPO and the PNP where he belongs.

 

“Whatever he is saying will not help his case. Ang maayo pa maghipos na lang siya (It would be better for him to shut up),” Treñas said.

 

Treñas said he is reviewing the program of assigning casual employees at police stations to do clerical works.

 

The mayor said he wanted policemen to concentrate on their law enforcement duties by patrolling the streets instead of staying in their stations to do office ordinary work.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

IN LaPaz, Iloilo City, a 16-year-old high school student of the Central Philippine University was found dead inside LaPaz plaza past 7am Wednesday.

 

The stab-riddled body of Buenaventura Peregil of Brgy. Tabuc Suba, Jaro was found near the pond inside the plaza.

 

Peregil was rushed to the West Visayas State University Medical Center where he was declared dead on arrival.

 

A stainless steel knife was recovered from the crime scene allegedly used by three suspects.

 

The LaPaz police are eyeing robbery-holdup as motive for the crime because Peregil’s cellphone was missing.

 

Before he was found dead, Peregil informed his aunt that he was still in LaPaz working on an assignment with a classmate.

 

ALARMED

 

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas met with punong barangays of LaPaz to discuss Peregil’s case and possible security measures to deter crimes in the area.

 

Treñas said Peregil’s killing was a very unfortunate incident. He ordered the police to investigate the matter and conduct high police visibility by patrolling the plaza every night.

 

The 25-member Association of Barangay Captains-La Paz district headed by Carlos Guarin assured the city mayor of their full cooperation and support in maintaining peace and order in the district and near the plaza.

 

Treñas said he has also directed the city engineer’s office electrical division to inspect the streetlights and to add more lights in the plaza.

 

Panay Power Corporation (PPC) will also help by giving five units of 1,000 watt floodlights which will be installed at the plaza.

 

The district plaza, which includes a covered gym, lagoon and football field, was the subject of complaints by La Paz residents because it is very dark at night as only a few lampposts and streetlights are functioning. (With reports from Lydia C. Pendon)

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

IT started with an altercation. Then a brawl ensued. Later, a man fell to the ground after he was shot by a lone suspect.

 

Niño Vera succumbed to gunshot wounds allegedly inflicted by suspect Jeremy Albacete, 24, inside Savannah subdivision around 11pm the other day.

 

Police said Vera and Albacete harbored grudges over a basketball game in the past.

 

Witnesses said that after the fisticuff, the suspect’s brother, Dr. Noel Jerome Albacete, arrived onboard a Toyota Revo and gave Jeremy a gun.

 

Jeremy then chased Vera and shot the victim about five times. The victim was hit in the back and fell to the ground.

 

Concerned residents rushed Vera to the nearest hospital but died on arrival.

 

Jeremy surrendered to the Oton police in the follow up operation while his brother-doctor was confined in a hospital.

 

Dr. Albacete, according to Oton police investigators, might be included in the case for giving the gun to the suspect.

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