Police sue Cavite prosecutor for freeing illegal gun suspectsBy Cynthia D. Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Philippine National Police on Thursday filed a complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman against a prosecutor in Trece Martirez City, Cavite, for the release of five suspects in an illegal firearms case who had engaged policemen in a gunfight.
The complaint was filed against prosecutor Crisostomo Dario Jr. by the PNP Regional Safety Battalion 4-A based in Los Baños, Laguna. Dario had ordered the release of suspects Raymund Equillos, Allan Limbo, Jem Bennision Baldeo, Eurie Tulabot and Jojo Sibug.
The five were arrested during a search by police on April 6 in Equillos’ house in Trece Martirez that yielded several high-powered guns.
The complaint, signed by Insp. Stefanio Andrenicus Rabino, said gunfire ensued between police and the men of Equillos that led to the wounding of PO2 Ivan Mark Cuartero and suspect Dennis Castillo.
Police seized from Sibug a .45-cal. pistol and seized from Baldeo a 9mm pistol. Two men apparently serving as guards at Equillos’ house were also arrested for illegal firearms possession.
From the house of Equillos, police seized a shotgun and another 9mm pistol.
Police filed charges of illegal possession of firearms against the suspects and brought them to Dario’s office for inquest proceedings. Police presented the confiscated weapons and documents as evidence.
After the inquest proceedings, however, Dario ordered the release of all the suspects, saying “there exists no probable cause on the basis of evidence presented.”
The complaint said Dario ignored the overwhelming evidence presented by police. It said the policemen who enforced the search warrant and went to Equillos’ house had put their lives on the line.
The complaint said it found puzzling Dario’s decision to release the suspects yet he set a hearing for preliminary investigation on April 22. Police called for Dario’s suspension.
It said the suspects should have been detained because they are facing nonbailable offenses.