Barangay chiefs with loose firearms may be suspended; case depends on police
CEBU CITY, Philippines— The Department of Interior and Local Government in (DILG) Cebu City office has taken its hands off the controversy involving barangay officials in the city, who were caught with unlicensed firearms, opting to leave the matter entirely to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
DILG-Cebu City Officer-in-Charge Jovelyn Calvo said that with charges now expected to be filed against Barangays Captain Victor Quijano of Calamba and Agustin Partulan of Lusaran, it will also up to the police to determine if they would also file similar cases against the two officials before the Office of the Ombudsman, the body that will determine if the cases can lead to their suspension or dismissal from office.
“Kung mopasaka silag (pulis) kaso, kay I think mopasaka man gyud sila, depende na. If adto sila sa Ombudsman, naa gyuy possibility masuspenso sila. Ang Ombudsman nay mo determine ana,” said Calvo.
Quijano and Partulan were arrested in their respective homes early today, Friday, February 22, in the police’s simultaneous drive against loose firearms.
Also arrested in separate searches were Calamba Councilman Ramsy Mercado and a tanod (village watchman) of the same barangay, Anthony Gingoyon.
As for DILG, Calvo said that they cannot suspend the officials, as it is not within their authority to do so. However, they are ready to implement the decision of the court on these cases.
Calvo said she was disappointed that elected officials were caught violating the law against loose firearms and hoped other officials would avoid getting themselves into the same situation.
Cebu City’s Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President and Kasambagan Barangay Captain Franklyn Ong, meanwhile, said they are ready to provide legal assistance to both Quijano and Partulan.
He refused to comment on the case as the investigations were still ongoing against the two village chiefs.
He, however, reminded the other barangay officials to register their firearms and to respect the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban during this election period, which started on January 13, 2019 and would end on June 12, 2019.
Cebu City Election Officer Marchel Sarno, on the other hand, urged the elected officials to surrender their unregistered firearms and contribute to the holding of peaceful elections in Cebu City in May this year.
“Awhag lang gyud ta nga mofollow sila sa atong regulations aron hapsay atong piniliay,” said Sarno. /elb
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