3 top prison execs sacked; NBI seeks gun owners

3 top prison execs sacked; NBI seeks gun owners
New Bilibid Prison.

The National Bureau of Investigation will summon all the personalities who are listed as the owners of the firearms found in the prison cell of Peter Co, one of the high-profile inmates of New Bilibid Prison.

"We will ask them of the circumstances why the firearms registered under their names were found in the hidden compartment in the quarters of one of the suspected top drug dealer in the country," said Rommel Vallejo, who is leading the NBI investigation of the case.

Vallejo said the investigation would focus on how the firearms and other contraband found inside the detention cells of the high-profile inmates were brought into the state facility.

"We have served subpoenas to jail guards and requested documents and tapes of the penitentiary's closed-circuit television security camera to start our investigation," he said.

The head agent said that apart from the prison guards, officials of the state facility would also be invited to explain their approval of the entry of the contraband into NBP.

"They will be asked to explain and shed light on why these contraband were allowed to be installed in the quarters of the inmates," Vallejo said.

Bureau of Corrections chief Franklin Bucayu on Friday announced the relief of NBP officials in connection with the discovery of the contraband inside the state penitentiary.

"Records show they approved the entry of the contraband," Bucayu said.

Ordered relieved were NBP head Supt. Robert Rabo, his deputy, Supt. Celso Bravo, and Davao Penal Colony head Denario Tesoro.

Rabo was replaced by Supt. Richard Schwarzkopf Jr. and Bravo was replaced by Supt. Rachel Ruello, concurrent head of Women's Correctional, while Tesoro was replaced by Supt. Geraldo Padilla.

Tesoro was, until his transfer to the Davao prison, an official of NBP.

Among the firearms found in Co's quarters were a Walther PPK (Serial No. 2004695) under the name of Guimaras Rep. Joaquin Carlos Rahman Nava. It was registered in December 2011;

A Bushmaster 5.56-mm rifle (Serial No. 143382) in the name of Carlitos Tiquia, who ran with the Liberal Party for a House seat in the second district of Valenzuela City;

A Browning 9-mm handgun (Serial No. 245PN6227) is listed in the name of Avelino Dalimocon Nicanor, a government employee with connections in the Bureau of Corrections;

A Taurus 9-mm (Serial No. TBU1297) is in the name of Vicente Tan Alindada Jr., a barangay councilor of Caloocan City.

"The firearms were still under their names and were not reported stolen or lost, so we are presuming they have knowledge of their location," Vallejo said. He said the firearms showed no negative records.

The Philippine National Police on Friday said three of the five firearms seized from Co's quarters had expired licenses.

These are: the Bushmaster 5.56-mm rifle in the name of Tiquia, the Browning 9-mm handgun in the name of Nicanor, and the Taurus 9-mm handgun in the name of Alindada.

It was learned that the NBI had asked the PNP's Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) to check the records of five firearms.

The FEO will summon the registered owners of the firearms to explain how the firearms ended up inside NBP, the PNP said.

The registered gun owners may be held liable or barred from acquiring new guns if they fail to give a reasonable explanation, it said.

Co, a convicted drug trafficker also identified as Wu Tuan Yuan, was among the 20 VIP inmates moved from the NBP maximum-security compound in Muntinlupa City following a raid conducted by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday.

The 20 are high-profile drug convicts suspected to be plying their illegal drugs trade from the NBP facility. They were transferred to the NBI detention facility and have remained incommunicado.

Vallejo described Co as a "top drug dealer with a nationwide network."

Co financed several political candidates in Metro Manila in exchange for protection, according to an intelligence report of antidrug units from the PNP and the NBI.

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