SouthCot employee in hot water for firing handgun on New Year’s Eve

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/2 Jan) – Police authorities in South Cotabato province are set to file indiscriminate firing charges against a member of provincial government’s civilian security unit for allegedly firing his local government-issued handgun during the New Year’s Eve revelry.

Senior Supt. Randolph Delfin, South Cotabato police director, identified the suspect as Romualdo Narce, 49, a member of the Provincial Security Unit (PSU) detailed at the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist’s demonstration farm in Banga town.

A report filed by the Banga municipal police station said the suspect fired his 9mm handgun several times after a drinking spree near the farm facility on New Year’s Eve.

Responding policemen immediately disarmed and arrested Narce at the scene of the incident around 1 a.m. Sunday.

The police team recovered from the suspect a 9mm pistol trooper with four live bullets and four other spent shells of the same handgun, the report cited.

Jonathan Jovero, South Cotabato PSU chief, said Monday they endorsed the filing of the criminal and administrative charges against the suspect.

Citing a report from Narce’s co-workers, he said the former initially abandoned his post and joined a drinking spree at a store located about 100 meters away from the farm facility around 6 p.m. last Saturday.

He said Narce, while reportedly drunk, later went berserk and even fired his handgun.

“We’re not tolerating this kind of behavior. We’re now gathering the necessary evidences for the filing of administrative charges against him,” Jovero said in an interview over radio station Bombo Radyo.

The official said the suspect was already relieved of his assignment and is presently under “hospital arrest” at the provincial hospital in Koronadal City.

He said the PSU member was transferred from the detention cell of the Banga police station to the provincial hospital on Sunday after reportedly suffering from hypertension.

Meantime, aside from the indiscriminate firing incident, the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office (SCPPO) recorded a total of 10 firecracker-related cases within the province’s 10 towns and lone city starting New Year’s Eve on Saturday until Sunday.

Six persons from Norala town and one each from Koronadal City and the municipalities of Tupi, Surallah and Sto. Niño sustained various firecracker-related injuries, an SCPPO report noted.

It said most of the victims suffered from second-degree burns on their hands as a result of firecracker explosion accidents.

As of December 30, the Department of Health-Region 12 already recorded 12 firecracker-related incidents in the province, which so far posted the highest number in the region. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)