Ex-Cebu official in trouble over unreturned gov’t pistol

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THE Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas found ground to file a malversation case before the Sandiganbayan against a former barangay official in Cebu province after he allegedly did not return a firearm that was issued to him by the government in 2003.

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The said firearm issued to Elmerito Panlaan, the former chairman of Barangay Anopog in Pinamungajan town, was a 0.9mm caliber pistol worth P40,175.

Panlaan allegedly violated Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code or Malversation of Public Property. He can still appeal the matter.

The law “prescribes penalties for failure of public officers to account for public funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer,” the Office of the Ombudsman said in a statement.

Municipal Mayor Glenn Baricuatro issued a memorandum order when he assumed office in 2013 that required the Municipal Treasurer “to account for and turn over all service vehicles and firearms owned by the municipal government.”

The office said Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente found probable cause to file the charge after it was found after an investigation that Panlaan did not return the firearm “despite notice and repeated demands.”

Panlaan claimed that he had already surrendered the pistol to the chief of police in 2006, thus the pistol was no longer in his custody.

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