PNP chief revokes mayor's gun licenses.
Byline: Carla P. Gomez
BACOLOD CITY -- Director General Alan Purisima, chief of the Philippine National Police, has ordered the revocation of the licenses of the 90 firearms seized in a raid on May 2 at the ancestral house of Pulupandan Mayor Magdaleno Pena in Barangay Ubay, Pulupandan, Negros Occidental.
Senior Superintendent Milko Lirazan, Negros Occidental acting police chief, said Purisima informed him of the order that resulted in the cancellation of the firearms' licenses by the PNP Firearms, Explosives, Security Agencies and Guards Section (Fesags).
With the cancellation of the guns' licenses, the police Special Weapons And Tactics Group and Special Action Force have reinforced security at the Bacolod Hall of Justice where 76 of the firearms are being kept.
Checkpoints have been set up at both ends of Cottage Road leading to the Bacolod Hall of Justice to prevent any attempt to bring the firearms out.
Lirazan said anyone caught bringing the firearms out of the Hall of Justice would be apprehended for violating the election gun ban which is still in effect, Lirazan said.
Last week, the camp of Magdaleno Pena, who will be replaced by his son Miguel as mayor, filed a civil case to recover the 76 firearms. The Pena camp said the firearms belong to JHMA Marin Holdings, Kentfield Corp. and Vegas Exploration and Mining Corp.
On Thursday, Judge Fernando Elumba, of the Regional Trial Court Branch 42, issued a writ of replevin (to recover pieces of personal property) that gave the court sheriff authority to seize the firearms from the Negros Occidental PNP last week and turn them over to the court.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), through Senior Supt. Jose Mario Espino, chief of the CIDG Anti-Organized Crime Division, has filed a motion asking Elumba to order the release of the firearms to the Quezon City RTC Branch 85 since it was the Quezon City court that issued the order to search the mayor's ancestral home on May 2.
Pena's lawyer, Roger Reyes, said the firearms might be returned five days from their seizure by the sheriff if the judge would not entertain a motion by the CIDG.
A staffer at Elumba's office on Wednesday said the judge went on leave. Reyes insisted that the 76 firearms being kept at the Hall of Justice are in court custody and no police officer could order their transfer. Only the court can order where the guns should go, he added.