Police raid on SCotabato mayor’s home yields licensed firearms

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SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: The municipal mayor of Tampakan, South Cotabato, whose house was raided by the police last Monday during an anti-drug operation, has been cleared of charges of illegal possession of firearms.

Tampakan Mayor Leonardo Escobillo was exonerated from criminal liability after guns and ammunitions earlier seized from him were found to be covered by licenses.

He was detained briefly on Monday while authorities were determining if his guns were not loose firearms.

Supt. Romeo Galgo, Jr., spokesman for the Police Regional Office-12, on Tuesday said Escobillo was cleared by a probe team after he showed the licenses of the firearms recovered by anti-narcotics agents who had raided his house.

The raiding team did not find illegal drugs in the mayor’s house, located in the town proper of Tampakan.

All of the firearms found in the mayor’s house–a .45 caliber Norinco pistol, a .40 caliber Taurus pistol, two .30 caliber Carbine rifles and an AK-47 rifle–have corresponding licenses.

But Leonard, a son of Escobillo failed to present documents showing the legality of firearms found in his possession.

The houses of the Escobillos were raided simultaneously after dawn Monday by personnel of PRO-12’s regional anti-illegal drugs unit and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-12.

No illegal drugs were found in Leonard’s house.

The raiding team that reportedly forced open the main door of the mayor’s house carried search warrants issued by Judge Alandrex Betoya of Regional Trial Court in Kabacan, North Cotabato.

The raiding team was composed of elements from Regional Public Safety Batallion 12 and Regional Drug Enforcement Unit 12.

“I am not into illegal drugs,” the mayor was quoted to have said while police continued searching his home.
“I don’t smoke nor drink wine,” he added.

Joe Ledda, Escobillo’s legal counsel, questioned the manner with which the police served the search warrants.

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