THE Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces have vowed to further intensify their campaign against loose firearms as part of their effort to prevent the proliferation of illegal guns that could be used to commit violence in the forthcoming May 2022 national and local elections.
According to PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, he asked his men to strengthen their coordination and information-sharing with their AFP counterparts when it comes to going after loose firearms and partisan armed groups.
He issued the directive after five men, including two Army soldiers and a policeman, were arrested for selling firearms to an undercover agent in an entrapment operation in Bgy. Tamontaka, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao last Tuesday.
Arrested were Pat. Eliver Jay Anggot Soverano of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Police Regional Office’s Regional Crime Laboratory, Datu Morjan Kunakon Tumindig, Adams Tuminding, and Staff Sgts. Gleen Sangyao and Reynaldo Dichosa II, both from the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.
“I commend the chief of police and the personnel of the Datu Odin Sinsuat Municipal Police Station for their aggressive campaign against loose firearms, which led to the arrest of five people, two of them are soldiers and the other one is a PNP personnel,” said Gen. Eleazar.
“This translates to nine less firearms at the hands of criminal elements, who may be tapped to sow violence, in the May 2022 elections,” he added.
The entrapment was launched after an undercover officer managed to make a transaction with the suspects.
Recovered during the sting were one cal. 5.56mm Bushmaster automatic rifle, two M-16 automatic rifles, one M4 Carbine, two cal. .45 semi-automatic pistols and three 9mm pistols.
The real source of the confiscated weapons is being checked by police investigators.
“Dahil sa insidenteng ito, makikipag-ugnayan ang inyong PNP sa liderato ng Armed Forces of the Philippines upang palakasin ang monitoring at mga operasyon laban sa sinumang magbebenta at bibili ng mga loose firearms, pulis man, sundalo o sinuman ang sangkot dito. Hindi natin hahayaan ang ganitong kalakaran lalo na at may eleksyon tayong dapat protektahan,” the country’s top cop said.
He said that the arrested policeman is facing criminal and administrative charges that will lead to his dismissal from the service. The same fate awaits the two Army troopers.
Eleazar has ordered early election security preparations that include aggressive operations against loose firearms and private armed groups.
“I am also warning all our personnel not to engage in this kind of illegal activity because I will make sure that the full force of the law will be used against you. Bilang mga alagad ng batas, hindi dapat tayo maging bantay-salakay at sa halip ay bantay ng bayan upang mapanatili ang kapayapaan at kaayusan,” the top cop said.