MANILA – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the reported sale of National Police firearms to NPA rebels.
At least 1,004 PNP firearms are reported to have been sold to the New People’s Army in Mindanao, initial reports reaching the agency had said.
Aguirre wants all those involved in the diversion of police firearms to rebels prosecuted, whether they are government personnel or private individuals.
Aguirre issued the order following a directive by President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate the reported 1,004 missing firearms at the PNP headquarters, later found to have been sold to the members of the NPA in Mindanao.
He stressed that the new probe would be an offshoot of the earlier Ombudsman investigation, which led to the indictment of top police officials in the Sandiganbayan and will focus on private individuals involved.
“We must always remember that as public servants, we are accountable to the people and must discharge our mandate with outmost fidelity and integrity,” Aguirre said in a statement.
Aguirre also ordered the NBI to regularly submit a progress report on the investigation and to file appropriate charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against those involved.
“With this, we are confident that those individuals who are responsible for this felonious act will be held accountable,” the Justice Secretary noted.
In 2014, it was uncovered that over 1,000 high-powered firearms of PNP worth P52 million had been sold to the NPA since 2011 with the unwitting assistance of 19 senior police officials at Camp Crame.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) discovered the irregularity after it was found that a cache of AK-47 assault rifles disappeared while papers were being processed by the PNP.
The CIDG had found that a certain Isidro Lozada, owner of a security agency based in CARAGA region in Mindanao, bought the firearms.