BACOLOD CITY, June 3 (PNA) — The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police is requesting the Regional Trial Court here on Monday to return the seized firearms of Pulupandan mayor-elect to their custody and maintain a “status quo”.
Senior Supt. Jose Mario Espino, head of CIDG Anti-Organized Crime Division of Negros Occidental said their request is stipulated in the answer they filed Monday before the sala of RTC Branch 42 Judge Fernando Elumba in response to the issuance of writ of replevin last week.
Espino said the seized firearms should be kept in Crime Laboratory of the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office.
The civil case for replevin with damages was filed on May 27 by Pulupandan mayor-elect Miguel Peña, Golden Lake Mineral Resources Inc., JHMA Marin Holdings Inc., and Kentfield Corp., of which he is the president and chairman of the board, and Vegas Exploration and Mining Corp., represented by its president, Federico Infante Jr.
The judge ordered the mayor-elect to put up a replevin bond of P4 million, that is double the value of the firearms being claimed.
The firearms will remain in the custody of the court for five days after recovery by the sheriff as required by the Rules of Court after which they will be released to their owners, if no other claims are made.
CIDG regional head Supt. Maffy Bazar said that out of the 90 firearms seized by the police during the May 2 raid at the Pena ancestral house in Brgy. Ubay, Pulupandan, 76 were released to the court sheriffs and 14 are in their custody.
Espino said that under the Rules of Court the respondent is given five days to answer before the writ is implemented.
“In this case, it was implemented without us answering it first,” he pointed out.
He also said that the two sheriffs have yet to turn the seized firearms over to the court.
Espino said the two sheriff, Garbriel Ramos and Jose Rene Vasquez, are assigned in RTC Branch 41 and not Branch 42.
On the issue that they did not immediately brought the seized firearms to the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City, he said it was Pulupandan outgoing Mayor Magdaleno Pena’s lawyer who requested that the firearms be in custody with the Crime Laboratory at NOPPO.
“It would also be a burden for the police to bring the guns to Quezon City and back to Bacolod again when there is a hearing,” he added.