Bato says Pryde Teves’ ‘makeshift’ firing range at sugar mill illegal

By GISELLE OMBAY, GMA Integrated News

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Monday said that the "makeshift" firing range within the property of former Negros Oriental governor Pryde Henry Teves is illegal.

During the Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee hearing on the assassination of Governor Roel Degamo, Teves admitted that there was a "makeshift" area in his sugar mill property, HDJ Tolong, in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental where he and his friends shoot weapons for fun on a monthly basis.

“Ako mismo, some of my friends. We put on a backstop some steel plates, tutal it’s private property, on occasion. I’m a sports shooter,” Teves said.

(I was there myself, including some of my friends. We put some steel plates on the backstop since it's private property.)

“It’s not a daily katuwaan, maybe it’s a monthly katuwaan or one- or two-month katuwaan. It’s not really a commercial range na maraming tao pumupunta doon. It’s just a backstop with a set of plates technically,” he added.

(It's not a daily pastime; maybe it's a monthly pastime or a one- or two-month pastime. It’s not really a commercial range where many people go to.)

Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, the slain governor's widow, then questioned the legality of such an activity, considering that Teves himself said that the area where the makeshift firing range is is also being used as a grazing area for livestock and is within a residential area.

Dela Rosa asked the Philippines National Police (PNP) if the firing range within the Teves’ property is registered.

“Based on our record, wala pong naka-register na firing range doon sa sugar mill [there was no firing range registered in the sugar mill],” a representative from the PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Office answered.

Upon confirming the information, the lawmaker told Teves that the firing activities being conducted in his own property is illegal.

“We want to inform you, former governor Teves, that paggamit doon as firing range is illegal dahil hindi dapat kayo nagpapaputok doon dahil hindi ‘yun registered na firing range…Legally speaking, ‘pag gamitin mong firing range ang isang lugar, you have to apply for a permit for the Firearms and Explosives Office of PNP,” dela Rosa said.

(Using the sugar mill as a firing range is illegal. You should not be firing there because it is not a registered firing range...Legally speaking, if you use an area as a firing range, you have to apply for a permit for the Firearms and Explosives Office of PNP.)

Authorities earlier seized a cache of guns and a thousand rounds of ammunition from Teves’ HDJ compound.


Teves submitted a counter-affidavit denying ownership of these guns and explosives.

Meanwhile, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Police Brigadier General Romeo Caramat Jr. said that suspects in the Degamo slay practiced at a sugar mill before they committed the crime.

“That’s true. ‘Yung mga main player, nag-practice ‘yan sa sugar mill days before. That’s the reason why the CIDG implemented a search warrant and we were able to recover the clothes and empty capsules used during the practice for these firearms to be used,” he said.

PRO-7 Deputy Regional Director for Operations Police Colonel Noel Flores also claimed that some of the key players practiced in an area termed “sugar central” owned by the Teves family. Others, he added, came from other parts of Mindanao.

Dela Rosa then asked Teves if he noticed that there were people practicing shooting in his sugar mill.

“So far, may nakikita akong mga, in the past, may mga nagpapaputok ng katuwaan but wala akong nakikitang nagpa-practice. But that was in November, December, mga ganon,” Teves answered.

(Before, I saw some people shoot for fun, but I don't see anyone practicing. That was in November or December.)

“Meron kasi dating makeshift na parang may cliff… Dati pa kasi way way back since I was young, ‘yun na ‘yung target area ng kung sino-sino. May malaking cliff na ganyan na lalagyan nila ng mga target-target. Backstop, that’s what they say. But after that, wala akong nakikitang movement na may mga taong marami na pumupunta doon na strangers,” he added.

(It was a makeshift, like a cliff... Since I was young, that has been the target area used by whoever. There was a big cliff where they put the targets. Backstop, that's what they say. But after that, I didn't see any movement, that there were many strangers going there.) 

Teves also said that he did not notice any firing activities when he was in Tolong, days before Degamo's assassination on March 4. — BM, GMA Integrated News