MANILA -- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a probe on the missing firearms of the Philippine National Police sold to the New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Mindanao.
Aguirre issued the order after the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to investigate the reported 1,004 missing firearms at the PNP headquarters which were later found out 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 would 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 to keep his office up-to-date 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 PHP52 million had been sold to 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. (PNA)