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Many high-powered weapons from the government arsenal may have ended up in the hands of the bandit Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) following a recent raid of a gunrunning syndicate’s hideout near Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa yesterday vowed to go after the people responsible in sneaking weapons out of the armory of the Armed Forces of the Phillippines.(AFP).
“Most of the ammos are traced back to the government arsenal… we suspect that they have a contact from the government arsenal,” said Dela Rosa. “We want to put a stop on this, if possible we put these people on a firing squad because this is a big offense, you’re giving arms to the enemy.”
Dela Rosa presented a cache of grenade launchers, M14 and M16 rifles, and thousands of ammunition seized from the group of Unding Kenneth Isa, a losing vice-gubernatorial candidate in Sulu.
Also arrested during a police raid Saturday were Hja Risdimona Isa, Aljamer Akarab Mandih and Hurbin Alhi Sahibu.
Police estimated the seized weapons to be worth P6 million.
Chief Supt. Roel Obusan, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said the raid was a result of surveillance operation against Isa who allegedly sold weapons to the ASG and political warlords in Mindanao.
Obusan said Isa’s group transported the weapons from Manila to Zamboanga then Jolo using sports utility vehicles.
“Based on our intelligence reports, they have been delivering the firearms using the RORO (Roll On, Roll Off). We have traced a lot of deliveries in the past,” he said.
Armed with a search warrant, police raided Isa’s safe house in Barangay West Crame and resulted in the confiscation of the contraband.
Dela Rosa said Isa ran and lost for the post of Sulu vice-governor during the last elections.
Isa was presented to the media yesterday but would not talk.
Obusan, for his part, said Isa arrived in Manila in 2012 and put up a small garments business in Cubao.
“The business is small yet, they were able to send their three children to a private school. Isa himself is a registered owner of four firearms,” said Obusan. “His lifestyle is not commensurate to his income so I believe that this illegal activity is the main source of their income.”
Chief Insp. Roque Merdegia, head of the CIDG- Anti-Transnational Crimes Unit (ACTU), said, basing intelligence reports, that Isa agreed to deliver to the ASG last month a cache of M203 grenade launchers, M14 rifles, explosive materials and thousands of ammunition.
“Allegedly, the ASG is now strengthening their armaments to fight head on with government forces in Sulu and Basilan, and to intensify their kidnapping and bombing operations,” said Merdegia.
The deal, however, did not materialize.
After the press briefing, Dela Rosa revealed that Isa told him that they were supposed to be allies because they both came from Mindanao.
“I told him he’s a fool. I am a policeman and you are a criminal yet you want me to be your ally,” said Dela Rosa.
Merdegia said cases of illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of explosives were filed against the suspects.