The Department of Justice has approved the filing of charges against a veterinarian allegedly tapped by a group to smuggle in arms for an assassination plot against President Duterte.
Prosecutor General Claro Arellano said yesterday that an arms smuggling case will be filed before the Bacolod City courts tomorrow against the suspect Bryan Ta-ala.
The DoJ issued a resolution Friday declaring that there is probable cause to charge the suspect with arms smuggling punishable under Section 33 of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
“Based on the above-mentioned provision of the law, the unlawful act of importation of Bryan, to fraudulently bring into the country articles considered contrary to law without prior permit and authority, is a clear violation of the law,” the DoJ said in the resolution signed by Assistant State Prosecutor Michael Cruz and approved by Arellano and Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva.
Operatives of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group arrested Ta-ala and his companion Wilford Palma in Barangay Tangub, Bacolod City after retrieving a balikbayan box containing gun parts from the United States worth R4.5 million early last month.
Palma had revealed that one of their regular customers told Ta-ala early last July that the low end parts of a gun they ordered will be used to assemble a gun to assassinate Duterte.
Palma admitted they have been selling smuggled gun parts on the Internet for two years.
Police had been informed of the contents of the shipment before and allowed it to arrive to enable them to arrest Ta-ala.
The shipment was transported through Atlas Cargo Forwarding Co. and addressed to Leo Mendieta. Mendieta picked it up and was arrested. The suspect turned out to be Ta-ala. (Jeffrey G. Damicog)