Cops may have 'planted' gun in arrest of 4 Chinese | Inquirer News

Cops may have ‘planted’ gun in anomalous arrest vs 4 Chinese – Acop

/ 05:54 PM February 05, 2024

PHOTO: Romeo Acop STORY: Cops may have ‘planted’ gun in anomalous arrest vs 4 Chinese – Acop

Antipolo 2nd District Rep. Romeo Acop speaks in a House hearing on May 17, 2023. (File photo from a video posted on the Facebook page of the House of Representatives)

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety are convinced that the firearm found in an anomalous arrest of four female Chinese in Parañaque City was merely planted by police.

During the committee hearing on Monday, Antipolo 2nd District Representative Romeo Acop interrogated three individuals who worked for the arrested Chinese — including the foreigners’ bodyguard, Michael Novecio, who surrendered to the House last Thursday.


Acop asked Novecio to confirm the testimony of dismissed cop Lord Jean Antonino, who admitted to facilitating the meeting between Novecio and Southern Police District (SPD) Special Operations Unit (SOU) team leader Maj. Jason Quijana, after Novecio was apprehended for changing their car’s plate number.


Expired license

When Novecio confirmed Antonino’s story, Acop then asked if the bodyguard owned a gun, which Novecio confirmed. Novecio also mentioned that he gave his gun — a .45-caliber chrome Desert Storm pistol — to Quijana as its license had expired.

“Did it have a license?” Acop asked.

“Yes, Your Honor, [but] it was expired, so I turned it over to Major Quijana because a gun ban was implemented during that time and I was afraid I might be apprehended, he told me he would help me renew its license,” Novecio replied in Filipino.

The weapon’s license, however, was not renewed by Quijana. The bodyguard also learned later on that it was the same gun found during the raid in Parañaque last September 2023 involving the four Chinese nationals.

“Did you know that the gun was found inside the vault of your boss, Mr. Lin?” Acop asked the bodyguard about one of the Chinese.

“I only heard about it, Your Honor, that it was used for planting of evidence,” he admitted to lawmakers.


Police Staff Sgt. Genesis Ruiz also confirmed to Acop that Quijana asked him to disassemble the gun, while another person was asked to bring a metal grinder. Acop, a former police official, surmised that the grinder was needed to tamper with the gun’s serial number.

The lawmaker showed a certification from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Forensic Group showing that the pistol of Novecio is the same gun seized in the anomalous operation.

“I have here a certification of the firearms (from the PNP) Forensic Group stating that the gun obtained from the raid, (at room) 1811, is the same gun owned by Mr. Michael Novecio,” the lawmaker said.

“So, it shows that the gun in 1811 belongs to Mr. Novecio, was given to Major Quijana, and the grinding machine was used to deface the serial number because it was stated in this report that the serial number was defaced,” Acop noted.

“Because firearms have unique characteristics, like the bore of a firearm, which I think these police officers do not know,” he added.

‘Fake operation’

The committee chaired by Santa Rosa City Rep. Dan Fernandez is investigating the possible culpability of 44 police officers from SPD, who allegedly staged a fake operation against the four Chinese in a condominium in Parañaque, taking money from them in the process.

The investigation of the panel started after Acop filed a resolution, stating that the four Chinese were “allegedly unlawfully accosted and arrested.”

He said the Chinese were brought to Room 1811 of Solemare Parksuites condominium in Parañaque on September 16, 2023.

The victims were allegedly “detained for several hours without being informed of their alleged offense and Miranda rights and were deprived of contact with their legal representation.”

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The lawmaker revealed the four women were transferred to SPD-DSOU in Taguig, where police officers reportedly asked them to shell out P2 million each for release.

TAGS: anomalous arrest, Philippine National Police, planted evidence, Romeo Acop

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