SC to look into missing firearms case
The Supreme Court (SC) may send a representative to investigate the loss of 13 firearms that were used as evidence in court.
Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Executive Judge Francisco Seville Jr. said he went to the High Court in Manila last Friday to submit a report on what happened at MTCC Branch 4.
“I’m just waiting for the SC to act on it,” he told reporters.
At least 13 guns used as evidence in a Cebu City trial court were discovered to be missing.
The items were last seen inside a wooden cabinet at the room of MTCC Judge Rosabella Tormis of Branch 4.
Tormis, who was dismissed from service twice by the Supreme Court (SC), has not reported for work since the decision came out last April.
All employees of MTCC 4 are considered as suspects by the police.
Based on the inventory made by the acting clerk of court of MTCC Branch 4, the stolen items include 10 pieces of .38 revolver, two .22 revolvers, and an improvised airgun rifle.
Seville said he’s also waiting for the report from the Theft and Robbery Section (TRS) of the Cebu City Police Office.
He said it’s high time to provide the courts with a steel cabinet where the evidence will be placed.
Mae Elaine Bathan, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City chapter, said the Palace of Justice should have an evidence room.
“We are really alarmed with what happened. It would clearly indiciate that the system in our courts is lax. We are hoping that in light of the incident, something would be done,” she said.
Bathan said she will also inform the SC about the system at the Palace of Justice as well as the dilapidated building and equipments being used by court personnel.
Based on the report submitted by Lyssette Yuson, acting clerk of court of MTCC 4, a litigant filed a pleading last June 6 for the latter to withdraw his firearm that was used as evidence in court.
After she verified from the records that the firearm was under her safekeeping, Yuson went to the judge’s chamber to get it.
On seeing the locker, she said there was no sign that it had been forcibly opened since the padlock remained intact.
However, she noticed that the “hasp” or the door fastener where the padlock is put on was partly removed.
Yuson immediately informed the other employees of MTCC Branch 4 about what she found out.
In an inventory she conducted, Yuson learned that at least 13 firearms were missing.
Of the items, 10 were used as evidence in cases that were dismissed or ended in the acquittal of the accused.
The three other missing firearms are being utilized as evidence in three pending cases. Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol