19 of 23 recovered firearms confirmed as PNP properties

DAGUPAN CITY — At least 19 of the 23 firearms recovered by the police from among the 41 firearms that were reported missing from the armory of Urdaneta City last year were confirmed to be properties of the Philippine National Police (PNP) based on laboratory tests that were conducted.

This was bared on Thursday by Supt. Jackie Candelario, deputy police provincial director for operations who was designated temporarily as officer-in-charge of the Urdaneta City police, when he spoke during the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) forum here.

Candelario, who is also information officer of the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office, took over temporarily from the former chief of police, Supt. Marcellano Desamito Jr., who was relieved from his post last week in connection with the missing 41 firearms.

He clarified that Supt. Desamito was transferred temporarily to another assignment to ensure impartial and fair investigation of the case.

In his talk during the forum, Cadelario admitted there were 23 firearms that were already recovered and of these, 19 so far were confirmed to be belonging to the PNP following laboratory examinations.

He said the laboratory tests are still going on as it is now difficult to determine if they are PNP properties because their serial numbers are already defaced.

Those missing firearms include 31 handguns with PNP markings and 10 other handguns that were merely turned over to the Urdaneta City police in the past for safekeeping. These include Peitro Beretta, Glock 99 mm pistols and cal. 38 revolvers.

A task force headed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) was created by Police Regional Office 1 to investigate and recover the 41 missing firearms.

The missing 41 firearms were uncovered when the National Police Commission (NPC) conducted an inventory late last year on the firearms in the custody of the Urdaneta City police.

Nine personnel of the Urdaneta police, one of whom is a civilian employee, were already relieved from their posts and ordered to report to the Pangasinan PPO headquarters in Lingayen where they are now restricted to quarters pending the completion of the investigation.

Most of the missing firearms that were already recovered were surrendered by different persons, among them businessmen and barangay officials, to whom these were allegedly sold or pawned by members of the police in Urdaneta City.

Cadelario declined to say whether the persons who surrendered some of missing the firearms would be held liable, saying it is the task force which is conducting investigation of the matter that could best answer this. Leonardo Micua/PNA-northboundasia.com