• VACC chief dares authorities to get tough on gun-for-hire syndicates

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    The founder of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Tuesday dared the leaders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to root out officers in league with gun-for-hire syndicates.

    Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the VACC, slammed the AFP and PNP for being too complacent in keeping track of the activities and whereabouts of their servicemen, which he says is very alarming considering that they are being issued firearms and have access to other high-powered weapons.

    He cited the case of Army Sgt. Roberto Yadao, who was nabbed for his involvement with gun-for-hire syndicates operating in different areas in the country.

    Yadao allegedly led a gun-for-hire syndicate that was supposed to target one of VACC’s members and his family last March, a businessman named Butch Cosme.

    The assassination was foiled after Noel Amarillo, the hit man from Yadao’s syndicate, was caught in front of the businessman’s home right before he could hurl a grenade at them

    Yadao’s syndicate was allegedly hired by the main suspect of the plot to kill the Cosmes, Teresa W. Cosme. In 2010, Butch Cosme’s brother, Edwin, Teresa’s husband, was killed by still unidentified individuals. Teresa Cosme allegedly hired Yadao’s syndicate to kill her husband’s family so she could get hold of the insurance money that was supposed to be for her husband’s children.

    Jimenez said the issue is a clear violation of the Constitution, especially since this is a case of “military and police personnel becoming the assassins themselves to the people they are supposed to protect.”

    He challenged President Benigno Aquino III to address the proliferation of soldiers and cops involved in these crime groups.

    JAN ERICK TUTAAN

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