Kidapawan prosecutors file illegal possession of firearms case vs. Rep. Catamco’s aide

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 10 April) – The City Prosecution Office here has found probable cause to charge in court a staff of North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco (2nd Dist.) for illegal possession of firearms.

Lawyer Eugene Seron, assistant city prosecutor, penned his resolution based on the premise that Basilio Obello Jr., chief of Catamco’s public affairs office, has knowledge of the firearm that the police recovered inside his car sometime May last year. Deputy city prosecutor Mary Christine Prudenciado likewise signed the resolution.

Supt. Renante Cabico, former chief of Kidapawan City PNP office, expressed “positive reception” of the prosecutor’s resolution.

“It’s a positive development on our part. But we would leave it to the wisdom of the court to decide on the case if Obello is indeed guilty or not,” he said.

Cabico led the filing of the complaints against Obello on May 7, 2012, a week after they recovered a Baby Armalite inside Obello’s black pickup truck.

Cabico has earlier said that Obello failed to present legal papers as proof of his lawful custody of the rifle.

The rifle, based on records from the police national headquarters at Camp Crame, was considered “an unwanted firearm.”

The vehicle, according to Cabico, was issued to Obello by the latter’s boss, Catamco, although it is not a government owned car.

Cabico has also filed falsification of public documents against Obello. Such complaint, however, was dismissed at the City Prosecution Office due to some technicalities.

Obello, for his part, said he would file a motion for reconsideration anytime soon.

In an interview, Obello claimed the police did not recover the gun from his “physical possession.”

“There is no physical possession when they recovered the Armalite. The car was also not registered under my name,” said Obello.

“I know this is going to be a long battle. But I am prepared for it,” said Obello.

His lawyer, Chris Cabilen, said they would ask the Department of Justice to review his client’s case.

Cabico, upon learning the decision of the prosecutor, said he felt “vindicated.”

On January 4, this year, Cabico was relieved from his post as the city PNP director, a week after Sr. Supt. Roque Alcantara was replaced by Supt. Danny Peralta as provincial police director of North Cotabato.

“I felt vindicated. I suffered a lot [because I held on to the truth]. I was on my own with this fight. Some of my officers were blinded by their fears. They even refused to issue statement or support for fear they might also be relieved,” said Cabico. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)