Capitol execs clash on bullet controversy

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – While the head of the Negros Occidental provincial government Security Services Department considered the controversial “bullet dropping” incident at the Food Terminal Market of Negros Occidental (FTMON) as case closed, provincial administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz says otherwise.

“We don’t take these things lightly,” Diaz said.

The issue of the discovery of two bullets at FTMON, which is managed by the provincial government, took another twist after the owner of the bullets was identified by Diaz as a job order employee of the Capitol.

This is contrary to the claim of Renelo Lastierre, head of the Capitol Security and Safety Division (SSD), that a member of military intelligence unit had claimed that the bullets fell from his bag.

Lastierre earlier dismissed the incident as “case closed” after the owner surfaced and claimed the bullets.

But Diaz said the person who claimed ownership of the bullets turned out to be a job order employee assigned at the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, contrary to claims that he is connected to a military intelligence unit.

Diaz further said he now believes that the placing of the two bullets on July 3 was intentional, to coincide with the renewal of contracts of JOs and Contract of Service employees.

He also theorized the possibility that the incident is believed to aim at threatening an employee of the Human Resource Office, who was providing information that led to the dismissal of employees assigned to SSD.

“We think it’s isolated and directed to the person who they think is responsible for non-renewal of their job contracts,” Diaz said.

Lastierre has brushed aside the incident. He said that he is not inclined to believe that the intention or motive, was in the form of a threat to anyone in the provincial government.

“If nobody had surfaced to claim ownership of the bullets, we can say that there is a possibility,” he stressed.

Lastierre confirmed that the job contracts of four SSD personnel were not renewed, and he respects the decision of the authorities.

He said he was also stripped of supervision over the blue guards, while vehicles issued to SSD were recalled, along with his firearm.

But he still retains the supervision of more than 50 paid watchmen of the capitol.

Diaz has earlier said that the investigation will not stop until the culprit is identified.

“Fingerprints should have been taken. The watchmen compromised the evidence. I even told them not to touch it because we want the investigators to handle the evidence. As security personnel they should know the protocols for handling evidence,” Diaz further said, apparently referring to the recovered bullets.

He also accused the SSD of giving lots of excuses when he sent people to check the CCTV footage.

There seems to be “a conspiracy to sabotage” the operation of the provincial government, Diaz further said.

Diaz also said that he will recommend the dismissal from government service of the JO who is assigned to OPA for possession of live ammunition.

On July 3, 2023 two bullets were found on the stairs of the FTMON at North Capitol Road.

These were claimed by a person connected to a military intelligence unit in Negros Occidental, Lastierre said.

He said the bullets found were not left in the area as a threat to anyone as the person who claimed ownership of them in fact returned to the FTMON to look for them.

Lastierre said the person asked that his identity be withheld but he has video footage of his claiming the two bullets.

The person said he was asked to buy the bullets and he later discovered that two were missing so he returned to the FTMON to look for them.

That is why he considers the case closed, Lastierre said.