THE Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are conducting a joint investigation following the arrest of a couple and the seizure of high-powered firearms and 13,000 rounds of ammunition.
PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde said Tuesday, December 18, that the National Capital Region Police Office and the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army will lead the investigation.
“I have already coordinated with the commanding general of 7th ID (Infantry Division) and nakapagkasunduan nga na we will be conducting a joint investigation and they are so much willing to cooperate sa gagawing investigation,” he said.
“This is a serious matter... Kung talagang totoo na nanggaling doon sa arsenal nila ito, napaka-delikado nito, napakarami, almost 13,000 rounds na firearms and high-powered firearms na nanggagaling doon at napupunta sa kamay ng mga terrorist or even criminal groups lalo na sa parting Mindanao,” he added.
On Sunday, December 16, a couple, identified as Edgardo and Rosemarie Medel, a resident of Landville Subdivision, Barangay Pambuan, Gapan, Nueva Ecija, was arrested in an entrapment operation in Valenzuela City.
Seized during the operation were two assault rifles, a handgun and 12,893 rounds of live ammunition for M-60 light machinegun and M-16 assault rifle with an estimated worth of P1.2 million.
Albayalde said the operation stemmed from an intelligence information provided by PNP units in Mindanao regarding arms sales provided by a civilian informant who also said that the firearms and ammunition being sold by the couple came from the Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Evija, the headquarters of the 7th ID.
“Yun ang initial na sinabi ng source na naggagaling sa Fort Magsaysay (ang mga contraband) which is the headquarters of the of the 7th ID,” he said.
Meanwhile, AFP chief of the Public Affairs Office Colonel Noel Detoyato said initial investigation showed that the confiscated firearms were not in their inventory.
“Only a thorough inventory of our ammunition stocks will confirm whether there are losses in our stocks that could have fallen to the hands of these gunrunners,” he said.
Detoyato, however, assured that the AFP imposes and continuously improves on a strict handling control of its ammunition. (SunStar Philippines)