(Eagle News) — Illegal possession of firearms suspects Angel Manalo, Jem Hemedez and a former “Magdalo” soldier identified as Jonathan Ledesma were brought on Friday morning (March 17) to the Metro Manila District Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City after a Quezon City judge issued a commitment order for them to be jailed in this facility.
The three suspects, who have been charged with illegal possession of firearms, were initially detained inside Camp Karingal, the headquarters of the Quezon City Police District, particularly at the Criminal Investigation and Detention Unit cell after their arrest on March 2. They were rounded up along with some 30 other expelled Iglesia Ni Cristo members, including Lolita “Lottie” Hemedez, Angel’s sister at the number 36 Tandang Sora compound in Quezon City.
Ledesma had been filed additional charges of direct assault with frustrated homicide for shooting at two police officers with an M-16 rifle during the March 2 police search in the area.
Curiously, Ledesma had previously admitted to being one of the Magdalo soldiers under former Army captain Nicanor Faeldon, now the commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, who were allegedly hired by the expelled Manalo siblings.
He was one of the military men who had managed to enter the INC’s Tandang Sora compound in October 2015 with the help of Faeldon’s former lawyer, Atty. Trixie Angeles. Angeles also served as the lead lawyer of the expelled Manalo siblings before she was suspended in August last year by the Supreme Court for unethical behavior on another case she handled.
Angeles had earlier claimed that Faeldon’s security agency then, had been contracted by the expelled Manalo siblings to give security to them. Faeldon was seen at the Tandang Sora compound also in October 2015.
Quezon City regional trial court Judge Luisito Cortez of branch 84 issued the commitment order for the suspects’ transfer to Camp Bagong Diwa.
Angel Manalo, Hemedez, and Ledesma were first brought to the Quezon City Police District’s Kamuning station for medical examination at around 8 a.m., today, Friday, March 17.
After this, they were then transported to the Metro Manila District Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. They arrived there past 9 in the morning.
No bail has been recommended for Angel Manalo, while the other two suspects can post bail.
According to the police, the big number of high-powered firearms and ammunition, including grenades and sophisticated firearms accessories found on the houses of Angel Manalo and Lottie Hemedez were the grounds for the filing of the illegal possession of firearms case against them. The searches were done on March 2 and 8, 2017.
The recovered firearms and ammunition included 56 long firearms, 18 short firearms, 27 grenades, 62 rifle grenades, and almost 18,000 rounds of ammunition.
Even the veteran police officers were surprised with the huge number of high-powered firearms found inside the houses of Angel and Lottie.
National Capital Region Police Office chief, Regional Director Oscar Albayalde noted that one of the high-powered firearms, a 50-caliber sniper rifle, was what had been typically used in the Mamasapano massacre against the members of the Philippine National Police -Special Action Force (PNP-SAF).
“This is a 50-calibre sniper rifle, typical na ginamit sa Mamasapano, ganito kalaki. You could just imagine yung tumama dun sa SAF police natin. Ganyan kalaki na bala ang tumama sa kanila. Original siya, orginal. Phoenix, Arizona,” he said during the March 9 press conference in Camp Karingal where the firearms were displayed.
QCPD Director Guillermo Eleazar said that based on the law, it is not compulsory or mandatory to conduct paraffin tests anymore on
Angel Manalo and the other suspects since he had claimed to be the owner of the area where the recovered firearms had been found on March 2.
The other suspects, including Lottie Hemedez, had been released pending further investigation last week. (with a report from Aily Millo)