Bemedalled cop nabbed for carrying unlicensed guns

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/11 Jan) – A bemedalled policeman in North Cotabato was placed behind bars for carrying two unlicensed firearms inside the office of the provincial police director here after a drama that led the cop to point one of his pistols on his boss last Monday.

The jailed officer was identified as Insp. Erwin Tabora, chief of the operations section of the investigation division of the North Cotabato police.

Confiscated from Tabora were two caliber .45 pistols. He failed to present proof he has authority to carry such guns, according to Kidapawan City prosecutor Al Calica.

Prior to the incident, reports had circulated within the office that the issued M16 Armalite rifle of the Cotabato police provincial director, Sr. Supt. Cornelio Salinas, was missing.

Salinas discovered his Armalite was missing on Dec 28, reports said, and that Tabora was among the suspects.

Last Monday, Tabora went to confront Salinas and with him was the “missing” rifle.

He told his provincial director he has no intention of stealing the Armalite, saying he just took the Armalite for safekeeping because he just found it lying around. It took him a while to bring it back because of the long break, he added.

In the midst of their discussion, a heated argument ensued, which led Tabora to get one of his pistols and point it to Salinas.

But before he could pull the trigger, Salinas’s men were quick to snatch the gun from him.

Immediately, Salinas ordered for Tabora’s arrest. A case of illegal possession of firearms was filed against Tabora.

“Tabora was placed under inquest proceedings and needs some P80,000 for his temporary liberty,” Calica said.

Insp. Joyce Birrey, spokesperson of the North Cotabato police, said they are still studying what other charges to file against  Tabora aside from illegal possession of firearms.

Tabora is considered by many of his peers as a “well-trained” policeman having specialized trainings on special weapons and tactics.

“He was once a member of the elite Special Action Forces while he was still in Luzon,” according to a police officer who refused to be identified.

He was the same police officer who, in January 2007, nabbed four kidnapping suspects in Cotabato City. He was then the Precinct 4 commander in Cotabato City.

In August last year, he was transferred to the Cotabato provincial police office where he was tasked to head the investigation division.

Four months later, Tabora, along with other police officers, were given commendation by Cotabato Gov. Lala Mendoza for having convinced five suspected members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) Front 72 to surrender to authorities.

But days later, a spokesman of NPA Front 72 issued a statement saying the rebels that surrendered to Tabora were “bogus” as they were not included in their roster of members. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)