QCPD to sue Angel Manalo and kin for illegal possession of firearms
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) will file complaints of illegal possession of firearms against expelled Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) members Felix Nathaniel “Angel” Manalo, his wife Jenny, his sister Lolita “Lottie” Hemedez, and 23 others who were rounded up during a raid at the Manalo residence in Quezon City Thursday morning.
The raiding police officers charged into the compound at 36 Tandang Sora Avenue in Quezon City, armed with a search warrant issued on the basis of witnesses’ accounts that there was an armory there.
They seized several high-powered firearms in the house – including a shotgun, an M16 rifle, a rifle grenade, and over a hundred rounds of ammunition.
Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, QCPD director, said Manalo and others who were brought in for questioning failed to show any license of ownership of the firearms.
He said cases of violation of the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunitions (Republic Act No. 10951) may be filed against 16 males and 10 females, even if the results of the verification process for the weapons were still underway.
Frustrated murder and direct assault charges will also be filed against Jonathan Ledesma, one of the residents in the compound, who allegedly shot and wounded two policemen during the raid.
According to a report to QCPD chief Eleazar, Ledesma shot with an M16 rifle PO2 Henry Hular and PO3 Joemarie Oandasan of the QCPD-Special Reaction Unit as they entered the premises.
(The wounded cops were not PO2 Henry Escular and PO3 Joner Adasan, as earlier reported.)
Oandasan was wounded in the leg. Hular, however, was shot in the shoulder and in the stomach, causing severe wounds in his liver, intestines, and kidney, Eleazar said.
Both police officers remained at St. Luke’s Medical as of posting time, with Hular reportedly in critical condition.
It is still unclear whether bullet fragments have already been recovered by the authorities from the compound.
Of the 32 people who were brought to QCPD headquarters at Camp Karingal for “questioning,” there were three minors and three women, reportedly house help and not from the Manalo residence, who would be exempted from the complaints.
Eleazar said they are free to leave the District Public Safety Battalion (DPSB) building, where they were currently held since Thursday afternoon.
“They still stay at Karingal until charges are filed or when their commitment and release orders are issued,” Eleazar said.
He noted that those charged with illegal possession of firearms may post bail, depending on the decision of the prosecutor.
Supporters of Manalo were still around the premises, as of posting time.
As soon as the Manalos were brought to Camp Karingal in a white bus on Thursday afternoon, supporters of the younger brother of INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo trooped to the building where they were being held. But they were barred from coming close.
Their pleas to allow them to bring food and water to the Manalos – who had allegedly been starved for six days at the INC compound – later turned into fits of rage when they found out that only INC members could allegedly speak with the 32 people holed inside the building.
Around two hours later, Manalo was allowed to briefly approach them at the gate and thank them for their support.
Reporters tried to get a statement, but Manalo was escorted back to the building.
Sources said they were kept inside a room inside the DPSB building. Their wallets and other personal belongings were reportedly taken for inspection.
Manalo has not yet issued a statement on his arrest.
His “adviser,” lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles, told the Inquirer that she is “not authorized yet to speak” on the matter.
As of posting time, the Inquirer is still trying to obtain an official statement from the Manalo camp’s lawyer, Ahmedy Paglinawan.
Sought for comment regarding the claims of harassment to members of the media covering the Tandang Sora compound, Eleazar said the police would investigate the matter. /atm
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