Army official denies planting evidence vs ‘Mabinay 6’

A PHILIPPINE Army battalion commander has dismissed claims by certain quarters that the high-powered firearms and other evidence recovered from six suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members were planted by government troops.

Lt. Col. Darrel Bañez, commander of the 62nd Infantry Battalion, said one of the firearms recovered from the so-called “Mabinay 6” suspected NPA members was very expensive and which was bought at P300,000 by a businessman who claimed to be the owner.

Bañez issued his statement Monday amid claims that the pieces of evidence recovered from the six suspected NPA members arrested last March 3 in Barangay Luyang, Mabinay, Negros Oriental, were all planted.

He said the Army could not afford to buy the M4 Ghostbuster rifle just to plant the same as evidence against Myles Albasin, the alleged leader of the six arrested after a brief encounter last March 3.

He is confident there is probable cause for the crimes allegedly committed by the six, for violation of Republic Act 10591, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act; and Republic Act 9516, or the law on illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Bañez said they later found out that the same firearm pointed to by Albasin as hers, while at Camp Leon Kilat in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, is owned and registered in the name of a businessman from Sipalay. (PNA)

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