Police arrest alleged arms seller to local terrorists, private armed groups
Authorities on Sunday arrested an alleged arms dealer who has been supplying military-owned guns and ammunition to local terrorist and private armed groups, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde said.
In a press briefing Monday, Albayalde said an entrapment operation by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) in Valenzuela City resulted in the arrest of couple Edgardo and Rosemarie Medel.
Authorities were able to confiscate two assault rifles, a handgun and 12,983 rounds of ammunition for M-60 light machine gun and M-16 assault rifle.
Medel and his wife will face charges of violation of 28 and 32 of RA 10591 or Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act of 2013.
In a text message to reporters, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said: "We’ll investigate how these ammo ended up in the wrong hands.”
Albayalde said according to the suspect, their largest transaction is allegedly with the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Group.
"In some reports when there is an encounter in Mindanao, there are also reports that they (recovered) bullets that seems to came from AFP and even the PNP," he said.
"NCRPO worked on the information from PNP units in Mindanao regarding the armed sales provided by a civilian informant, known only as a certain Medel," he said.
During a subsequent test buy, NCRPO operatives were able to buy ammunition from the suspect and even assured them on supplying up to 10 rifles.
The couple was arrested around 6:30 pm along Canumay Drive, NLEX in Valenzuela City after female cops who posed as buyers handed the P1,200,000 payment for their weapons and ammunition order puportedly for the 2019 election.
Albayalde said Medel confessed he has a connection for nearly two years with a retired soldier who supply him with weapons and ammunitions.
"We have names... we are still verifying who is allegedly his connections in Fort Magsaysay," he said.
Albayalde said his connection might have accumulated these items a long time ago or the retired soldier has links inside the military.
He said they will be coordinating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Albayalde added the PNP is verifying those politicians who had transactions with Medel.
"It is subject for validation although he still not yet confessing if who is those politicians," he said.
"They (politicians) will be subject for police operation, for follow up operations although we cannot charge them immediately, but it will be a part of our case build up operations," he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS