File raps against me in court, Gibo dares Ampatuan lawyer

January 25, 2010 10:55 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

DAVAO CITY, Jan. 25 — Former Defense Secretary and Lakas-Kampi-CMD (Christian, Muslim, Democrats) standard-bearer Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr. has challenged the lawyer of the powerful Ampatuan clan in Maguindanao to file charges against him in court in connection with the reported proliferation of high-powered illegal firearms in Maguindanao province.

"I am daring him (lawyer) to file charges against me in court," Teodoro told reporters here. "And he better present strong documentary and physical evidence to back up his allegations."

The counsel for the Ampatuans, Philip Pantojan, earlier alleged that Teodoro, being the Secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND), was responsible for providing high-powered firearms and ammunition to his clients.

"That claim is without basis. The lawyer is barking up the wrong tree. It is clear that the defense department has no operational control over the distribution of firearms and ammunition to the units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)," Teodoro stressed.

"What is clear is that accountable officers of the armed forces have control over the supplies and to where these will go," he said.

Teodoro is urging the AFP to reveal the result of its investigation into the unlawful diversion of military firearms and ammunition discovered last month in the arsenal of the Ampatuan clan in Maguindanao province.

He said the AFP should file the appropriate charges against military officers found liable for the arms diversion following an investigation ordered last month by AFP Chief Gen. Victor Ibrado.

"The people’s confidence in the military institution has to be maintained," Teodoro said, adding the accountable military officers must be punished to the full extent of the law.

Around 1,500 pieces of high-powered rifles, machine guns, mortars, and assorted weaponry were unearthed by military authorities last month in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao near the mansion of Ampatuan patriarch and Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. (PNA) V3/LGI-PFN

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