By: Francis Allan L. Angelo
CRIMINAL charges will still be filed against the seaman who went on a shooting rampage on New Year’s Day in Jaro, Iloilo City even if his neighbors have already lost interest in the case.
On Friday afternoon, Jaro police investigator PO3 Rico Alolor filed before the Iloilo City Prosecutor’s Office charges for illegal discharge of firearms against Ramon Espia of Dolmax Subdvision, Brgy. Camalig, Jaro.
But assistant city prosecutor Jeremy Bionat told The Daily Guardian over the phone that he had the complaint corrected to include alarm and scandal in the charges.
“If the complaint is for illegal discharge only, it might appear that there was intention to shoot someone. But as far as my understanding of the complaint is concerned, there could be an element of accidental firing here,” Bionat said.
Bionat said the Jaro police will re-file the case today so it can be docketed and assigned to an investigating prosecutor.
Espia’s alleged gun firing spree resulted in damages to the house of Tay family just across the suspect’s residence.
Espia himself admitted to the police and Aksyon Radyo reporters that he was the one who fired his newly-bought caliber .45 and 9mm pistols during New Year’s Revelry.
Despite his admission and empty shells gathered in front of his house, the team of Alolor, PO1 Vallant Chua and PO1 Elisio Benliro did not arrest the seaman. Their actions resulted in their relief from the Jaro police force while their commander, S/Insp. Joseph Almaquer, is under investigation by the Police Regional Office (PRO-6).
Both PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome and C/Supt. Cipriano Querol Jr., PRO-6 director, have exerted pressure on the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) to take action against Espia and the four police officers.
Almaquer had said that the Tay family lost interest in filing a complaint against Espia after they reportedly settled their differences over the gun-firing fiasco.
But Querol said the police can still file complaint against Espia as the latter’s actions can be considered public crimes.
Querol also cited the physical evidence recovered and Espia’s voluntary admission as strong proof for the criminal case.
“Even if the affected party is not keen on filing the case, the police can still file a case especially if we have strong evidence to back the charges,” he added.
Aside from the criminal case, the PRO-6 has also requested the revocation of Espia’s gun licenses with the Firearms and Explosives Division.