Ombudsman files criminal raps vs PNP generals over missing AK-47s

Bea Cupin
Ombudsman files criminal raps vs PNP generals over missing AK-47s
Although controversial in itself, the case has since taken on a more political tone since it involves one of the officers whom Aquino once considered to be the next PNP chief, Petrasanta

MANILA, Philippines – Several police officials, including a dismissed officer with close ties to President Benigno Aquino III, face charges over their alleged involvement in the sale of 1,004 AK-47s to communist rebels.  

In a statement released Wednesday, October 21, the Office of the Ombudsman said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the filing of criminal charges against the following former and current officers, non-enlisted personnel, and non-uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP): 

  • Former Civil Security Group (CSG) chief (ret.) Police Director Gil Meneses 
  • Former Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) chief (ret.) Police Director Napoleon Estilles
  • Former FEO chief dismissed Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta
  • (Ret.) Chief Superintendent Tomas Rentoy III
  • Chief Superintendent Regino Catiis
  • Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto  
  • Senior Superintendent Allan Parreño  
  • Superintendent Nelson Bautista
  • Chief Inspector Ricardo Zapata, Jr.
  • Chief Inspector Ricky Sumalde 
  • Senior Police Officer 1 Eric Tan 
  • SPO1 Randy De Sesto 
  • Non-uniformed Personnel Nora Pirote 
  • Non-uniformed Personnel Sol Bargan 

Isidro Lozada, owner of the Caraga Security Agency, was also charged by the Ombudsman. 

They will be charged for violating Section 3 (e) of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which means they caused “any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”

In addition to violating Section 3 (e), the Ombudsman also approved charging Estilles and Petrasanta for violating Section 3 (j) of the same RA. 

That section states that public officers who “directly or indirectly [became] interested, for personal gain, or having a material interest in any transaction or act requiring the approval of a board, panel or group of which he is a member, and which exercises discretion in such approval, even if he votes against the same or does not participate in the action of the board, committee, panel or group.” 

All of the PNP personnel listed who face charges were either part of, or connected to, the PNP’s Civil Security Group (CSG) and Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) when the firearms were being purchased in “trickles” from 2011 to shortly before the May 2013 elections. 

“Respondents were found to have conspired in facilitating, processing and approving the applications for firearm licenses of Caraga, Isla Security Agency (Isla), Claver Mineral Development Corporation and JTC Mineral Mining Corporation despite incomplete or falsified applications and supporting documents,” the Ombudsman said in a statement. 

The Office of the Ombudsman, in its investigation, also found the following irregularities: 

  • issuance of firearms licenses to Caraga despite an expired license to operate
  • processing of Caraga’s applications without verifying the number of firearms already issued to it, which resulted in the issuance of licenses beyond the limit allowed by regulation
  • recommendations for approval of the firearm licenses without proper verification and checking
  • Meneses’ handwritten notations to expedite processing
  • the absence of verification of the identity and capacity of Isla to purchase high-powered firearms

What happened? 

Even before the case reached the Ombudsman, it had been the subject of a months-long investigation by the CIDG. In June 2014, CIDG chief Director Benjamin Magalong announced that cases would be filed against officials involved in the case. 

But this was quickly retracted by the PNP. 

By November 2014, the probe continued due to a motu proprio case build-up by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices, based on news reports. 

This means the Ombudsman went forward with its case build-up even if no complaint was filed. 


Although controversial in itself, the case has since taken on a more political tone since it involves one of the officers whom Aquino once considered to be the next PNP chief, Petrasanta. 

Petrasanta, a former chief of the FEO, was among the many police officials preventively suspended for 6 months over the AK-47 case. He was also preventively suspended for his alleged involvement in a shady deal between the FEO and courier company Werfast. 

At the time of his suspension, Petrasanta was regional police chief of Central Luzon. 

But even before Petrasanta’s name became a buzzword and long before the case reached the Ombudsman, police investigators knew early on that the case would lead to the filing of criminal cases against the officers involved. 

According to a source privy to the probe, investigators found that the 3 companies used to acquire the guns – JTC Mineral Mining Corporation, the Claver Mineral Mining Corporation, and another security agency – were, in fact, not allowed to purchase AK-47s. 

But this was a bump that was supposedly waived by Rentoy, who, at that time, was chief of the Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA). 

From the SOSIA, the papers went through the FEO chief – several, in this case – who approved the sale and release of firearms even if the firms did not meet the requirements. 

The CSG chief, who at that time was Meneses, likewise approved the sale of the firearms.  

At least 5 of the missing firearms have since been recovered, during clashes between the military and the NPA. But the other firearms seized during the encounters could no longer be identified since they had been tampered with. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.