URDANETA CITY — Eighteen of the 41 missing handguns in the armory of the Urdaneta City Police have so far been recovered, the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO) reported Wednesday.
The last so far to surrender one of the missing Pietro Beretta 9 mm Parabellum pistol with one magazine at 8:55 a.m of January 3 was Leonardo Idos Francisco, a village councilor of Bayaoas, Urdaneta City.
The missing handguns included Beretta and Glock pistols, both standard firearms of the police.
Francisco told the Urdaneta City Police that the firearm was mortgaged to him by incumbent village chairman Mariano Loquiao of Dilan-Paurido sometime during the last week of November.
The surrendered firearm had a defaced serial number. It was verified to be a PNP property.
Francisco is now temporarily detained at the Urdaneta City Police Station for further investigation, while the surrendered firearm is now under the custody of the investigation section of the Urdaneta City Police Station (UCPS).
Supt. Jackie Candelario, deputy police provincial director for operations, said the UCPS is helping in the recovery of the missing firearms.
Seventeen of the 41 missing firearms were earlier voluntarily surrendered to the police by different persons, particularly businessmen since December 24, 2016.
Some of these businessmen confirmed that the handguns were either sold or pawned to them by policemen whose names are still being withheld.
Investigation of the missing handguns in the armory of the Urdaneta Police is being conducted jointly by the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on order of Police Regional Office 1 director Gregorio Pimentel.
This, after the National Police Commission (Napolcom) regional office conducted an inventory of firearms in the custody of the Urdaneta Police last December 8, 2016.
Nine personnel of the UCPS, eight of them organic members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and a civilian employee were relieved of their posts and are now undergoing investigation in connection with the missing firearms.
All these were ordered to report to the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office in Lingayen where they are now restricted to quarters.
These reportedly include past and present logistic officers of the UCPS.
Meanwhile, a janitor of UCPS is now a vital witness under the custody of investigators after admitting that he sold some of the missing firearms to different persons. Leonardo Micua/PNA-northboundasia.com