THE ongoing crackdown against criminality and terror by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has led in the arrest of 10 men who are now facing non-bailable charges for violation of the anti-terror law, anti-money laundering act, and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, NCRPO director Major General Vicente D. Danao Jr. told People’s Tonight.
According to the Metro Manila police chief, the suspects were arrested in separate anti-criminality operations in Cubao, Quezon City and in Sitio Bulicao 2, Pulong Buhangin in Sta. Maria, Bulacan last September 8.
The arrests were made following an operation in Samar province which yielded 36 assorted firearms, the official said. Danao said the recovered weapons were believed to have originated from firearms deemed as “Beyond Economical Repair” and set for disposal by the government.
He aired suspicions that spare parts from the weapons set for massive destruction supposedly by winning bidders under the supervision of the police were collected and used to create guns that can fire and can be used by terrorists once they acquire them.
“Maawa naman kayo sa dami ng pulis at sundalo na namatay. And yet, we are feeding them with the same military hardware,” said Danao.
The NCRPO director, on orders of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, has launched an in-depth investigation into the source of the recovered firearms.
“We want to find out who are the persons involved in the illegal trade and selling of these firearms and ammunition. Once we are able to identify them, we will be filing criminal and administrative charges against them,” Danao said.
The NCRPO Regional Intelligence Division, he said, had filed charges for violation of Republic Act (RA) 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, RA 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 against the arrested suspects.
The 10 were assisted by their respective counsels during their inquest proceedings before Department of Justice Senior State Prosecutor Peter Ong.
Eleazar earlier ordered the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) to investigate the alleged online sale of loose firearms being made by some unscrupulous persons in the country.
The PNP chief issued the instruction to PNP-ACG director Brigadier Gen. Robert T. Rodriguez as an initial investigation revealed that the thousands of disassembled parts of firearms and ammunition recently recovered in a warehouse in Bulacan were reportedly being reassembled to be sold to private armed groups, including via online platforms.
The disassembled parts were police- and military-issued items that were not properly disposed of, according to the police investigation.
“In our aggressive campaign against loose firearms as part of the early security preparations for the 2022 elections, we are not discounting the possibility that some gun-running syndicates are using the online platforms for their illegal activities,” said Eleazar.
“Dahil dito, inatasan ko na ang ating Intelligence Group at ang Anti-Cybercrime group na lalong palakasin ang information-gathering at monitoring sa modus na ito,” he added.
Most of the weapon parts confiscated in the warehouse in Bulacan were caliber .50 and M16 rifles.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines had assured that the matter is being thoroughly investigated to determine the real source of the confiscated war materials.
“Guns are the common instrument in committing crimes that is why we have to step up our preemptive campaign through aggressive operations against those who sell them illegally, lalo na at palapit na ang eleksyon kung saan maaring magamit ang mga loose firearms na ito sa pananabotahe at paghahasik ng karahasan,” said Eleazar.