Man held for selling fake gun ban exemption papers
The documents come complete with the supposed signatures of a top Commission on Elections official and ranking officers of the police and the armed forces. All forged, of course.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Monday arrested an alleged a member of a syndicate offering fake certificates that grant exemptions from the election gun ban.
The suspect allegedly had a contact in the Comelec who leaked original, signed forms for the syndicate to copy.
Rommel Vallejo, head agent of the NBI Anti-Organized Crime Division, identified the suspect as Ricardo Villaflor III, 42, a resident of Villa Beatriz in Old Balara, Quezon City.
Villaflor yielded three fake IDs, two of them supposedly issued by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, when arrested in an entrapment operation at a mall in Manila, where he accepted mark money from a prospective client who had alerted the NBI to the transaction.
“We are now checking his alleged contact in the Comelec,” Vallejo said.
Speaking to the Philippine Daily Inquirer while in detention at the NBI headquarters, Villaflor identified his contact in the Comelec only as “Banoy” who worked in the poll body’s filing division.
He said Banoy provided him copies of original exemption documents bearing the signatures of Comelec Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph and his counterparts in the PNP and AFP, namely Chief Supt. Miguel C. Antonio Jr. and Brig. Gen. Rodelio Santos, respectively.
Yusoph chairs the Comelec’s Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel for the coming May elections.
The suspect said the syndicate offered certificates with forged signatures at P5,500 each. “Our clients were usually security escorts who could not get an approval from the Comelec,” he said.
He said he had been making forged certificates since last year.
According to Vallejo, the syndicate had victimized some 20 gun owners who later filed complaints in the NBI.
One of the victims was Carlito Edano Jr, a security consultant, who along with eight fellow gun owners were asked by Villaflor to deposit payment for nine certificates through the bank account of Rico Pandi in San Fernando, Pampanga province.
After receiving the papers, Edano and the others began to have doubts on their authenticity and went to Yusoph’s office to have them validated. The Comelec commissioner later declared them to be fake, Vallejo said.