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Pasay prosecutors probed for releasing mayor with illegal gun

By Dona Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 18:47:00 03/17/2010

Filed Under: Elections, Crime, Judiciary (system of justice)

MANILA, Philippines?Chief State Prosecutor Claro Arellano ordered the prosecutor's office of Pasay City on Wednesday to explain why it released the Albay municipal mayor who was recently caught with a fake gun ban exemption.

Arellano directed Pasay City Prosecutor Elmer Mitra to explain why one of his assistant prosecutors Manuel Ortega allowed Mayor Avelino Ceriola of Malinao, Albay, to walk free even though the investigation into the election offense was still going on.

The Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group caught the mayor with a .45-pistol before dawn Monday, as he was about to board a plane bound for Legazpi City, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.

While the firearm was properly licensed, Ceriola reportedly presented a permit to carry firearms outside the residence supposedly signed by Commission on Elections Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, which later turned out to be fake.

The PNP charged the mayor with violation of the election gun ban before the Pasay City prosecutor's office.

PNP officials complained about Ortega's decision to release the mayor pending further investigation? despite clear evidence of using a fake gun ban exemption.

?I already asked City Prosecutor Mitra to explain regarding the resolution of one of his assistant prosecutors that allowed the mayor to be released. I am closely monitoring the conduct of the probe,? Arellano said in an interview.

He assured the PNP leadership that the National Prosecution Service fully supported the campaign against loose firearms and would continue to do so.

The PNP said Ceriola was the third candidate who have been caught in violation of the election gun ban, which carried a penalty of disqualification from running for office.

The others were Masbate provincial jail warden Ricardo Bulanon who is running for mayor in San Pascual, Masbate; and former Buenavista, Quezon mayor Ramon Reyes who is running again for the same post.

The PNP said Bulanon and Reyes were arrested in a police checkpoint. Reyes was also accused of coddling a wanted person since one of his escorts turned out to be a suspect in a murder case in Caloocan City.



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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