June 1, 2023

Outgoing Mayor Mark Roland Somera and his sister, Vice Mayor Jaja Josefina Somera-Disono, both of Pilar, Abra, have turned over nine firearms through their legal counsel to the Abra Police Provincial Office on June 14.

Earlier, Philippine National Police Officer-In-Charge Lt/Gen. Vicente Danao, Jr. issued revocation and confiscation orders for the firearms and ammunitions registered under the names of the concerned officials.

The siblings and their security personnel earlier figured in an alleged shootout with policemen leading to a standoff at their compound due to their security aides’ supposed evasion of a checkpoint.

Police Regional Office-Cordillera Information Officer, Cpt. Marnie Abellanida said the Abra PPO and the Regional Civil Security Unit-Cordillera facilitated the surrender of six pistols, two shotguns, and a revolver.

Abellanida said Somera surrendered eight firearms namely one caliber 40 Glock Gen 4 pistol, one Smith and Wesson cal. 357 revolver, one cal. 45 Glock pistol, one 12-gauge shotgun, one CZ Cal. 9 mm pistol, one cal. 9mm pistol Stribog, one cal. 9 mm Mossberg pistol, and one cal. 45 Armscor pistol M1911 rock standard.

Disono, on the other hand, handed over one 12-gauge shotgun.

All firearms surrendered are in the custody of RCSU-Cordillera.

The siblings initially surrendered some of their firearms to the police on April 14 after a fatal shootout that killed the vice mayor’s aide, Sandee Boy Bermudo, and wounded two policemen.  

The police said Disono’s convoy refused to stop at a checkpoint, thus the police pursued the convoy who first shot at them, leading to an alleged firefight.

Disono’s men then encamped at the latter’s family compound but later surrendered to authorities under the care of the Philippine Army.

The Abra PPO filed cases against the siblings for violation of the Expanded Trafficking in Persons Act in relation to the surrender of the 12 former military men, who were employed by the Someras as security aides.   

Three other personnel of the Someras are also facing charges of serious disobedience and attempted murder.

The Disono camp sought help from the National Bureau of Investigation, leading the latter to file on April 28, at the Department of Justice, murder charges against the top officials and personnel of PRO-Cor and Abra PPO.

Also filed were cases of perjury and incriminating an innocent person against the police officers involved in the alleged shooting incident.

The NBI said based on its investigation including CCTV footage from the scene, what happened was a shooting incident, not a shootout.

By then, the Somera siblings hid for their own safety claiming the incident as politically-motivated. 

The situation in Pilar led the Commission on Elections to place the municipality under its control during the May 9 polls.

The Somera siblings, who ran as reelectionists, lost the May 9 polls by a wide margin including their their council slate. – Ofelia C. Empian