By Jeffrey Damicog
The Department of Justice (DOJ) gave a town mayor in Masbate and his vice mayor-father more time to file their counter-affidavit over complaints against them for having a stash of unlicensed firearms.
At the start of the preliminary investigation Friday (March 1), the panel of prosecutors chaired by Assistant State Prosecutor Josie Christina Dugay gave Mayor Charmax Yuson of Batuan, Masbate and his father Vice Mayor Charlie Yuson III until April 1 to file their counter-affidavits.
“After April 1, we will have it submitted for resolution already,” Dugay told the parties during the hearing.
However, Dugay decided to give the Yusons more time to file the counter-affidavits after the complainant said it intends to file supplemental evidence against the respondents on March 7.
The complaint, which was filed last February 14 by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Masbate Provincial Field Unit, accused the respondents of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition in violation of Section 28, paragraph (a) of Republic Act 10591, the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act.
The complaint was filed after joint elements of the PNP and the Army raided last February 13 the mayor’s house and his father’s beach resort in Butuan where firearms and ammunition were discovered.
The raids were conducted based on the search warrant issued by Executive Judge Virgilio Macaraig of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 37.
CIDG Masbate head Chief Inspector Dave Mahilum explained the operation was conducted against the Yusons after his office received information that the respondents were in possession of unlicensed firearms.
“Meron po tayong information na natanggap na yung mag-amang Yusonay meron mga possession na loose firearms at nagma-maintain ng private armed groups (We have information the Yusons have in possession loose firearms and maintains armed groups),” Mahilum had said.
Authorities seized from the house of the mayor an armalite rifle and a fragmentation grenade.
While, authorities found in the resort an M16 Bushmaster rifle, two 12-gauge shotguns, a .45 caliber Colt pistol, three .38 caliber revolvers without serial numbers and a hand grenade.
The PNP has already verified that the mayor only had firearms licenses and permits for a shotgun, two Glock pistols and a UDMC S5-PVAR rifle.