DAVAO CITY - Several high-powered unlicensed firearms were seized after government agents raided a security agency owned by an in-law of the Ampatuan clan in Davao City Thursday.
The raiding team also arrested an Army trooper guarding the Banderas Security Agency at the time of the raid.
Sergeant Alberto Antisoda Duhig of the Army's 67th Infantry Battalion was arrested after he failed to show an authority from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for him to render security duty at the said premises.
Davao Region Police Director Pedro Tango said the security agency is owned by certain Datu Musolini Lidasan, brother of the Bai Ikit Lidasan Ampatuan, wife of Energy Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan, who is also former chairman of Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA) and Office of Muslim Affairs director.
Zamzamin is cousin of Andal Ampatuan Sr.
Recovered from the house of Lidasan were 24 caliber .38 revolvers, 19 shotguns, and one caliber .45 pistol that are all duly covered with license. Two M16 rifles, one .45 caliber pistol and one 9-milimeter pistol, which were unlicensed, were also confiscated.
Lidasan said the guns were used in his security agency and are not part of the suspected arms caches of the Ampatuan clan.
However, government agents later discovered that Lidasan's security agency's permit has expired since August 2008.
Lidasan and Duhig are now being investigated at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO).
Undersecretary Ampatuan, in a text message, said he owns the building where the security agency holds office just in front of his house.
"It was a random routinary check which is necessary to ensure that all firearms registered with the security agency are intact," he said. "There were problems noted requiring documentary corrections which will be complied with by the security agency."
He admitted though that "he and his wife were annoyed about the minor incident."
"But according to my wife who attended to the police team while Mus Lidasan was not around, the police officers were courteous and did the check up smoothly," he added.
On Wednesday, authorities also recovered ammunition from a compound owned by Andal Ampatuan Jr.'s mother-in-law in Shariff Aguak.
Raided was the house of Almira Nor Santiago, Ampatuan Jr.'s mother-in-law at around 11:30 a.m.
Government troops, using metal detectors, dug up an area in the compound where suspected arms cache was believed to be buried.
"We found boxes of ammunition for 50-caliber machine gun, M-16 Armalite rifle, 9-milimeter pistol, .45 caliber pistol, and B-40 anti-tank rockets," Maguindanao Police Director Alex Lineses said, adding that the search team also found seven tripods for machine guns and the base of 81-milimeter mortar.
The boxes of bullets, Lineses said, were found buried in the 800-square-meter compound in Barangay Poblacion, just across the house of Ampatuan Sr., who is still confined at the Panacan Station Hospital in this city for several illnesses.
"There could be more, there could be firearms hidden here," Lineses said.
He added that the PNP-CIDG is preparing charges of rebellion against Bai Amira Nor Santiago for keeping war materials. (Ben O. Tesiorna with report from Gigie Agtay of Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)