MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, on Friday ordered a deeper investigation following the discovery of firearms and ammunition cache allegedly operated by a gun-running syndicate during a series of operations in Quezon City and Bulacan last September 8.
“Sa ating patuloy na kampanya laban sa loose firearms upang matiyak ang maayos at tahimik na Halalan 2022, nalansag natin ang isang gunrunning syndicate sa dalawang magkasunod na operasyon ng inyong PNP at AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) sa Bulacan at Quezon City (In our ongoing operations against loose firearms which are part of efforts to secure the May 2022 elections, we managed to dismantle a gunrunning syndicate in (a series of) operations by your PNP and the AFP in Bulacan and Quezon City),” he said.
Eleazar said he had already instructed the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to coordinate with the AFP regarding the investigation.
During the first operation, members of the National Capital Region Police Office and the military raided a warehouse in Quezon City where six people were arrested.
More than 5,000 rounds of assorted ammunition along with personal effects and gadgets were seized from the suspects, whose names are still withheld.
On the same day, another raid was conducted on a warehouse in Sta. Maria, Bulacan which led to the discovery of more parts for assorted high-powered firearms.
A third raid, also in Bulacan, also resulted in the confiscation of reassembled cal. 5.56 rifle, assorted ammunition, pistols, and other firearm parts for reassembly.
“These operations prevented the proliferation of more loose firearms that could have been used to undermine our democratic processes and our right to suffrage, especially that there were reports that this group has been selling firearms to criminals and private goons in Mindanao,” he added.
Eleazar also tasked police offices and units to intensify intelligence gathering measures to locate other areas or warehouses that could have been illegally used as storage of firearms.
He also ordered all police commanders to start security preparations ahead of next year’s elections by running after private armed groups and loose firearms that could threaten the peaceful conduct of the elections.
Meanwhile, AFP chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino, in a separate statement, lauded the joint military and police operation that uncovered and halted efforts to repurpose said hardware.
“We are at a crucial point in our efforts to end communist and local terrorist and other criminal activities in the country, and a big part of this is in ending the proliferation of loose firearms in compliance with our Commander-in-Chief’s (President Rodrigo Duterte) directive,” Faustino said.
He also added that the AFP along with the PNP will not stop until those responsible are put behind bars. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)