PNP files formal complaint vs Pasay prosecutor for releasing the Albay mayor nabbed for gun ban violation

March 17, 2010 10:57 pm 

MANILA, March 17 – The Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group (PNP-Avsegroup) on Wednesday formally filed criminal and administrative charges against a Pasay City prosecutor for alleged mnmalfeasance and grave abuse of discretion in connection with the prosecution of an Albay town mayor arrested for gun ban violation.

Lawyer Gilbert Bueno, graft investigator of the Office of the Ombudsman, formally subscribed the complaint filed against Assistant City Prosecutor Manuel Ortega of the City Prosecutor's Office.

The complaint stemmed from Ortega's alleged abuse of discretion and malfeasance in handling the prosecution of Mayor Avelino Ceriola of Malinao town, Albay who was arrested on Monday morning at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 by the Aviation Security Group for carrying a caliber .45 pistol while about to board a PAL flight bound for Legazpi City.

Ceriola yielded the handgun and presented a suspected fake Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence (PTCFOR) purportedly issued by Commission on Elections Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, chairman of the Comelec Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel (CBFSP).

A resolution issued by Inquest Prosecutor Manuel Ortega on Tuesday and duly approved by City Prosecutor Elmer Mitra ordered Ceriola released for further investigation (RFI) after presentation of the arrested mayor for inquest proceedings.

Despite the evidence presented by arresting officers during inquest proceedings, Ortega issued an Inquest Resolution approved by Mitra, "finding lack of probable cause sufficient to sustain respondent's formal indictment in court."

In the Inquest Resolution, Ortega said the "subject gun or firearm and ammunition were not actually presented during inquest proceedings and that no affidavit or sworn statement vis-à-vis the gun ban exemption request for Comelec certification was also submitted or presented during inquest proceedings."

In Camp Crame, PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa bewailed the apparent lack of support of the prosecution arm, citing previous experience in Abra of politicians exerting undue influence over prosecution and judicial authorities in cases involving loose firearms and partisan armed groups. (PNA) scs/MM

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