SANGGUNIANG Bayan Member Francisco Calvo of Calinog, Iloilo, insisted that the police operation against him was politically motivated.
Calvo, who is running for mayor of Calinog, did not mince words in telling Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police chief, that his political opponents might have orchestrated his arrest for illegal gun possession.
Calvo, together with SB member Renato Casinao and former Mayor Salvador Divinagracia, paid Bulalacao a visit at the latter’s office in Camp Delgado, Iloilo City on Feb 11, 2019.
“Nagpakilala s’ya sa akin. He requested me to investigate the raid conducted against him,” Bulalacao said.
On Feb. 4, 2019, joint elements of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office – Provincial Intelligence Branch (IPPO-PIB) and Calinog Police Station carried out the search operation on Calvo’s house at St. Vincent Subdivision, Barangay Libot, Calinog.
Police recovered a caliber .45 pistol (Para-Ordnance) with serial number FC797728; a.m. M-16 Elisco rifle with serial number RP 114964; 24 ammunition and 20 empty shells for caliber .45 pistol; 30 ammunition and 3 long and 1 short magazines for M16 rifle; a defective caliber .22 long barrel rifle (Squib Man) with serial number 19717; and a defective caliber .25 pistol.
Calvo, who is into quarry business, presented valid licenses for the M16 rifle and caliber .45 pistol which were later returned to him after validation.
He justified that the caliber .25 pistol is owned by his father-in-law.
Despite being defective, Calvo allegedly kept it claiming it holds sentimental value with his father-in-law.
He reasoned that the caliber .22 long barrel rifle was owned by a friend, who failed to get it back until the latter’s death.
“So, I asked him if he owns the guns and he said yes. I told him there’s nothing politically motivated kung nahuli sa inyo ang mga baril, even if they are defective,” Bulalacao said.
There are three major components of a gun: slide, barrel, and receiver.
“If one of the parts was not licensed with the Firearms Explosives Office, then it’s illegal,” he said.
As to the person who allegedly wanted him arrested, Bulalacao said Calvo did not mention any name.
He also told the mayoralty candidate to expose police officers who showed unfairness or favored any political candidate.
“I assured him that I will investigate any policemen who are unfair and out to frame any person,” Bulalacao said.
If Calvo could prove it, the region’s top cop said he would not hesitate in imposing sanctions.
Bulalacao also assured Calvo that they would have no second thoughts in arresting politicians who are keeping firearms.
“Sabi ko sa kanya, mag-report sya. Mas magandang may picture while in possession of the firearm,” he said.
As to reports that Mayor Alex Centena, who is running for vice mayor of Calinog, was the one who instigated Calvo’s arrest, Bulalacao said he trusted that the IPPO acted on solid intelligence reports.
Centena, who was earlier tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte in the illegal drug trade, is considered a high-value target of the PNP, thus, his License to Own and Possess Firearms (LTOPF) has been revoked.