THE “person of interest,” who surrendered to the Martial Law Special Action Group (MLSAG) last June 26 in relation to the 8,000 rounds of ammunition seized in a warehouse in Barangay Camaman-an, Cagayan de Oro City, will soon be facing criminal charges.
Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) Intelligence Unit chief Ariel Philip Pontillas said the alleged “middle man,” who had initially misled investigators by using a fictitious identity, will likely be charged for violations of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act (Republic Act 10591) and falsification of documents for using the fake identification card.
Pontillas declined to name the person of interest tagged by authorities as the supposed middle man, who told investigators he was a taxi driver.
He said the alleged middle man picked up and delivered an undetermined number of packages for Maranao man from May last year to the time of his surrender.
The supposed middle man said he did not know what was inside the packages but said he was paid P3,000 per delivery.
"Maybe nagsurrender siya kay guilty siya (he surrendered because he’s guilty) or he wants to clear his name. Iyang ingon kay wala man daw siya kabalo unsay sulod sa iyang ginapick-up nga boxes (He said he did not know what’s inside the boxes)," Pontillas said.
Authorities said that the seized ammunition arrived last April at the warehouse of a cargo forwarder.
The seizure came after the operatives received a tip from the National Capital Region that the bullets were being kept at a warehouse in the city.
Authorities raided the warehouse and tracked the person that would claim the items.
Pontillas said authorities are already looking into the origin of the confiscated ammunition composed of some 6,000 5.56 bullets and 2,000 .30 caliber bullets.
Investigators said the ammunition may have been pilfered from the Department of National Defense (DND) or from the government’s arsenal as the boxes, which contained the bullets had “Arsenal DND” marked on them.
Pontillas clarified that although the boxes have what appears to be government marking, this does not necessarily mean that the roughly half million worth of ammunition came from the government or private individual.
The intelligence unit chief also said the packaging of the boxes were outdated.
"Daan pud ang iyang packaging. Kani siya intended for personal use gayud (The packaging was outdated. These are intended for personal use)," Pontillas added.
Pontillas added the confiscated ammunition were believed to be manufactured by the Arms Corporation of the Philippines (Armscor), a firearms manufacturing company known for its inexpensive 1911-pattern pistols, revolvers, shotguns, sporting rifles, firearms parts, and ammunition.
"Naay Armscor sa sudlanan sa bala (Armscor was encrypted inside the bullets). Armscor is private entity. Pero dili pwede maka-possess ang mga individual person (but individual person can’t possess any of it)," Pontillas said.