POLICE officers who led the raid on the house of a mayoralty bet in Calinog, Iloilo might find themselves in a legal bind soon.
Reports from the camp of Sangguniang Bayan member and Calinog mayoralty candidate Francisco “Iko” Calvo indicate that he is mulling to file charges against the officers who searched his house for unlicensed firearms on Feb 4, 2019.
The raid on Calvos house at St. Vincent Subdivision, Barangay Libot, Calinog was carried out on the basis of a search warrant which listed a cal. 45 pistol, a 9mm pistol and an M-16 “Baby Armalite” rifle.
Joint elements of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office-Provincial Intelligence Branch (IPPO-PIB) and Calinog Police Station carried out the operation against Calvo.
The team recovered the following:
- a caliber .45 pistol (Para-Ordnance) with serial number FC797728;
- an M-16 Elisco rifle with serial number RP 114964;
- 24 pieces of ammunition and 20 empty shells for caliber .45 ammos;
- 30 pieces of ammunition and 3 long and 1 short magazines of an M16 rifle;
- a defective caliber .22 long-barreled rifle (Squib Man) with serial number 19717; and
- a defective caliber .25 pistol.
But Calvo, who is running under the Nacionalista Party, presented valid PNP licenses for the caliber .45 pistol and Baby Armalite.
The raiding team did not find a caliber .9 mm pistol from Calvos house, contrary to what was listed in the search warrant.
On the other hand, the caliber .22 long-barreled rifle and caliber .25 pistol were not listed in the warrant, aside from being rusty and defective.
Calvo said the caliber .25 pistol belonged to his father-in-law.
Despite being defective, Calvo kept the gun because of its sentimental value to his in-law.
On the other hand, the caliber .22 rifle belonged to a friend who already passed away. Already defective, Calvos friend failed to retrieve it before his death.
Calvo, who labeled the raid as political harassment mounted by his rivals in Calinog, was released from detention evening of Feb 4 after posting a P120,000 bail with the Regional Trial Court Branch 36 in Iloilo City.
In a previous interview, Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, IPPO director, said they only acted on reports that Calvo indiscriminately fired his gun during special occasions at his house.
But Chief Inspector Jose Nemias Pamplona, Calinog police chief, said Calvo was never the subject of any complaint for indiscriminate gun discharge or even alarm and scandal in their neighborhood.
It appears that the IPPO team that raided Calvos house acted on flimsy intelligence reports or information, which could be a basis for the dismissal of the case filed against the public official for allegedly violating Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act).
A retired Regional Trial Court judge who sought anonymity said police usually rely on deponents or persons who allege before the court that the person subject of a search warrant is keeping contrabands like unlicensed guns.
But the retired judge said the police and the court that will issue the warrant must make sure that the information stands on solid ground, not a product of hearsay.
The person who was the subject of the raid can push for the dismissal of the case because it is a fruit of the poisonous tree. And he can also question and even charge the police and the court that issued the warrant for relying on flimsy or unsubstantiated information. Thats why during my time on the bench, I dish probing questions to the deponent to verify their claims to avoid infringing the rights of the subject, the former judge added.
Tayaba and the Police Regional Office-6 denied that the raid was politically motivated.