Off-duty guard nabbed for bringing gun outside Archbishop’s Palace
AN off-duty security guard, who was allegedly a member of the Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN), was arrested by the police for bringing an unlicensed firearm outside the Archbishop’s Residence compound in Cebu City on Sunday night.
Jerry Lou Labra, 38, and a resident of Barangay Guadalupe in Cebu City, failed to present any document to show that he was licensed to carry his own firearm.
He was brought to the Abellana Police Station where he was detained pending filing of charges of illegal possession of firearms.
His arrest came a day after one of the survivors of the shooting incident in Barangay Malubog, Cebu City last Oct. 4 was brought to the Archbishop’s Palace where she would stay while the Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7) was investigating the carnage that killed five men.
Chief Insp. Eduard Sanchez, investigator of the Abellana Police Station, said Labra asked permission to enter the Archbishop’s Residence at around 11 p.m. on Sunday.
The policeman at the entrance gate inspected Labra’s sling bag and found a .38 revolver loaded with bullets.
Labra, a guard assigned at the Sugbo Building grounds at the South Road Properties, said he was instructed by his head guard to go to the Archbishop’s Residence and help secure Puran.
Policemen have been deployed at the Archbishop’s Residence compound after an armed man, who was looking for Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma allegedly, tried to shoot it out with operatives last July 10.
Sanchez said Labra was not authorized to carry a firearm and that they had no proof whether or not Labra was telling the truth.
“He was acting suspiciously,” the police investigator said.
Labra, he said, had a companion who was not arrested because the latter was not bringing any firearm.
Puran was brought by CHR-7 officers to the Archbishop’s Palace while the agency was investigating the Malubog shooting incident.
Both Puran and the other survivor, Antonio Belande, claimed the policemen were responsible for the killings.
But Belande, who narrated his ordeal to the media hours after he escaped, decided to go home and have the police look after his safety.
Belande was released on Sunday from the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) where he was confined for three days.
He was escorted by the police from CCMC to his residence in Barangay Basak-San Nicolas in Cebu City when he went home around noon.
Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) director, had visited the survivors at the CCMC after the incident and promised to support them. Investigators of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) planned to conduct a reenactment of the shooting incident in the mountain barangay of Malubog, Cebu City.
Senior Supt. Royina Garma, director of the CCPO, said the reenactment would help them get a clear picture of what happened last Oct. 4.
Chief Insp. Dindo Juanito Alaras, chief of the Mabolo Police Station, said they were also validating reports that Puran was one of the nieces of self-confessed drug lord Franz Saballones.
Leo Villarino, CHR-7 chief investigator, hoped that the law enforcers deployed at the gates of the Archbishop’s Residence help secure Puran.
“Hopefully, the security will be maintained. But we are confident that she is safe inside the Archbishop’s Palace,” he said.
Churchgoers, who usually proceed inside without intervention from the security, would now have to pass through inspection before they could enter the compound.
Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, politely begged off from issuing any statement regarding the matter, saying the church is just providing “pastoral custody” of Puran.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma had yet to release a statement about it.
Belande and Puran, in separate interviews, told reporters that they and five others were brought to the mountain village of Malubog past 3 a.m. on Thursday on board a van.
Both said they hid behind the bushes surrounding the Transcentral Highway after they managed to escape their captors.
Sinas insisted that the police had nothing to do with the incident. He said the crime might be the handiwork of a drug syndicate. / with reports from Morexette Erram, Delta Letigio, and Gerard Francisco
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