BY RUBY P. SILUBRICO and IAN PAUL CORDERO
ILOILO – Policemen raided the house of a Sangguniang Bayan (SB) member of Calinog town. They found licensed and unlicensed firearms.
SB member Francisco Calvo, candidate for mayor in the May 13 midterm elections, was taken to the Calinog police station after the raid in Barangay Libot on Monday around 11:30 p.m.
Operatives of the Calinog police station and Provincial Special Operations Group of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO), armed with a search warrant, found the following: .45 pistol and M16 armalite rifle (both had licenses), a .22 revolver and .25 auto pistol (both with no licenses), and assorted bullets.
The .22 revolver and .25 auto pistol were defective, according to Chief Inspector Jose Nemias Pamplona, Calinog police chief.
Reports reached the IPPO and Calinog police station that bursts of gunfire were often heard from Calvo’s house, according to Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, police provincial director.
Calvo, 48, is running for mayor under the Nacionalista Party of gubernatorial candidate Cong. Ferjenel Biron. He declined to issue a statement.
According to Pamplona, they returned to Calvo the .45 pistol and M16 armalite rifle because the SB member managed to present licenses.
As of this writing, the Calinog police was still to file a complaint for violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act) against Calvo, thus he was still in the custody of the municipal police.
Pamplona said they could be filing the complaint today, and the SB member could post bail.
Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, regional police director, cited his men for continuing the campaign against loose firearms. He then warned those keeping unlicensed guns.
“The law will, sooner or later, catch up with you. Better reform yourselves for good,” said Bulalacao.
The police, he added, “will continue to implement measures that will ensure secure and fair midterm elections in our region.”
“As long as I’m the police director of Region 6, no one will be above the law,” said Bulalacao.
On Monday, Bulalacao said some candidates running for public office in Western Visayas availed themselves of the services of rebels and private armed groups (PAGs) most likely to intimidate voters and their opponents.
“Getting the services of rebels and PAGs is a form of cheating,” said the police director.
The regional police will use the “full force” of law against these candidates, said Bulalacao, but he did not identify these candidates.
He also appealed to the public to help the police.
“We encourage the general public to expose these candidates. They don’t deserve a seat in our government,” Bulalacao said./PN