Abra town mayor returns more firearms after PNP cancels licenses

Abra town mayor returns more firearms after PNP cancels licenses

TURNOVER. Mayor Maro Somera and sister, Vice Mayor Jaja Somera surrender nine more firearms to the Philippine National Police after the agency canceled their licenses.

PNP Cordillera

Eight of the surrendered weapons are registered under outgoing Pilar Mayor Maro Somera's name

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Outgoing Mayor Mark Roland “Maro” Somera of Pilar town, Abra, has surrendered nine firearms to provincial police after Philippine National Police canceled the licenses of weapons registered to him and his sister, Vice Mayor Josephine” “Jaja” Somera-Disono.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, June 15, the Police Regional Office Cordillera said the siblings’ legal counsel turned over a shotgun, one revolver, and six pistols to Abra police chief Colonel Maly Cula and Major Michael Maca-ey, Regional Civil Security Unit officer-in-charge, in Barangay Poblacion. 

Eight of the weapons were registered in the mayor’s name, while one shotgun belonged to his sister.

On April 14, the siblings surrendered firearms to the police following an alleged shootout between cops and their personal security force on March 29.

The March incident forced the Someras into hiding as they faced trafficking complaints for the unauthorized employment of bodyguards, around a dozen of them former Army soldiers.

All their town council bets withdrew their certificates of candidacy during the election homestretch.

Police also filed separate complaints against four of their bodyguards involved in the alleged shootout that wounded two cops and killed the vice mayor’s security aide, Sandee Boy Bermudo.

The reelectionist Someras, children of former town mayor and governor Rolando, lost in the May 2022 polls. 

Maro got only 291 votes to mayor-elect Tyron Beroña’s 6,210 votes while Jaja secured only 708 votes, far from vice mayor-elect Samson Laguesta’s 5,573.

Dueling complaints

The case involving the outgoing officials is complicated. 

The PNP replaced the town’s entire police force and Pilar was placed under the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) control. Regional Mobile Police Force Battalion 15 (RMPFB 15) members replaced all 27 cops in the Pilar police office, including its chief.

The National Bureau of Investigation also filed murder and perjury complaints against police in Abra and Pilar, including Cordillera police chief Brigadier General Ronald Lee, Abra police chief Colonel Maly Castillo, and some RMPFB 15 members.

In a PNp press conference at in Camp Crame on May 4, then-Comelec chairman Saidamen Pangarungan said he had also received confidential reports from the Comelec regional director, Ederlino Tabilas, and other sectors, “disclosing the apparent bias of the local police detachment in Pilar, Abra.” 

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The Somera family patriarch was assassinated in Marikina City on June 9, 2017. His murder remained unsolved. – Sherwin de Vera/Rappler.com