Authorities seize cache of firearms, nab 21 blue guards

AUTHORITIES recovered 12 firearms during a raid at Maricalum Mining Corporation (MMC) at Barangay San Jose in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental Monday.

This came four days after six security guards assigned at the facility were allegedly disarmed by suspected New People's Army (NPA) members.

Armed with a search warrant issued by a Regional Trial Court judge from Quezon City for illegal possession of firearms, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) from Manila, along with its regional and Bacolod offices, together with the Philippine Army swooped down the facility around 5 a.m.

NBI-Bacolod head Renoir Baldovino said the local office and the Army only assisted the personnel of NBI-Manila in conducting the raid.

He said he has no idea if who was the subject of the issuance of the search warrant.

They are still verifying if the seized firearms were licensed or not, he said.

Baldovino also denied reports that heavy equipment were seized by the raiding teams.

“I cannot reveal the full details yet because I am not authorized, and I have no authority from the national office that sent the personnel here,” Baldovino said.

He said charges could be filed today.

The NBI raiding team were led by Supervising Agent Darwin Lising from NBI-Manila and NBI-Western Visayas assistant regional director Horten Hernaez.

Col. Eliezer Lozañes, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Murcia town, said they provided six teams as requested by NBI-Manila.

He also refused to give additional details about the operation.

The 21 security guards were brought to the NBI-Bacolod office.

Of the number, 12 of them were from San Vicente Security Agency while 9 belong to DSR Security Agency.

They said they belong to the National Mines and Allied Workers Union detailed at Post No. 2 in MMC.

Baldovino said there was no resistance on the part of the security guards when they were asked to be brought to the NBI-Bacolod office for verification.

He stressed the raid has nothing to do with the entry of armed men that disarmed six security guards at MMC on March 1.

The armed men took the six shotguns and a .9mm caliber pistol of the security guards. They then escaped on a white van, heading towards the airport. They were escorted by motorcycles.
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