Brgy. captain, 2 others arrested in operations vs. illegal firearms

A barangay chairman in San Andres town and two others were arrested in separate operations conducted by the Catanduanes police simultaneous with other police units in the Bicol region last week.

First to fall was a 32-year old abaca stripper, identified only as “Mil,” who was caught in possession of a rifle grenade and a Cal. 38 revolver with six bullets.

It was 3 A.M. of Feb. 25, 2021 when joint elements of the Panganiban police, the Catanduanes 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company (PMFC) and the Catanduanes Provincial Intelligence Unit (PIU) served on him the search warrant issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 42 was served on him in barangay Cabuyoan.

Two hours later in Tilod, Baras, the town police headed by Capt. Mark Leslie Barlis served a search warrant on a 53-year old jobless man it identified only as “Ando” who yielded a Cal. 38 revolved with five bullets.

Next up was Barihay barangay captain Arturo Torzar dela Cruz, 50, who yielded a Smith & Wesson Cal. 38 pistol, 12 bullets for a 9mm pistol and a replica of a Beretta 9mm pistol.

The operation that went down at 8:50 A.M. of Feb. 25, 2021 was backed by a search warrant issued by RTC Branch 42 Presiding Judge Genie G. Gapas-Agbada.

The following day, Feb. 26 at 4:20 P.M. in Gogon Centro, Virac, an entrapment operation was conducted against a tricycle driver by the Virac police along with elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Catanduanes, Regional Intelligence Unit, PIU, Catanduanes 1st PMFC and the Philippine Army.

A Cal. 38 revolver and bullets were seized from Oscar Mora, 34, a resident of the barangay, after he tried to sell them to an undercover law enforcer.

The village chief and the two other individuals will be charged for violation of Republic Act 10591, or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

The seized firearms and ammunitions were among the 108 firearms and explosives presented by different police provincial offices during an online press conference conducted at the Bicol police regional office at Camp Ola on Feb. 26.

The recovery of the firearms, which included 103 firearms and five rifle grenades, was the result of the Simultaneous Anti-Criminality Law Enforcement Operations (SACLEO) regarding RA 10591.

BGen. Bart Bustamante said the operations are in preparation for the forthcoming 2022 national and local elections as he called on the public to support the campaign against loose firearms.

“Malaking bagay ito hindi lang po sa pang-araw-araw na buhay as it will contribute to reduce crime incidence around the region,” he stated.

He added that the guns will be subjected to ballistics examination at the crime laboratory to determine if they had been used in murder, homicide and gun-related crimes.

There was no pattern or links in the seized drugs or the arrested persons, the Bicol PNP chief averred.

With regards to the recent mis-encounter between the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Quezon City, BGen. Bustamante assured that all anti-illegal drug operations in the Bicol region are properly coordinated with PDEA before, during and after the operation.

He disclosed that as of last week, no big volume of illegal drugs have been noted coming into the region.

In subsequent operations, the Catanduanes police arrested three more persons who were found in possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition in Viga and San Miguel.

In San Roque, Viga last Sunday, Feb. 28, joint elements of the Viga police station, the 2nd PMFC, and Catanduanes PIU apprehended a certain “Dencio” who was found in possession of a Cal. 38 revolver witn defaced serial number, 13 Cal. 45 bullets, a revolver cylinder, five Cal. 38 bullets and a replica of a 9mm pistol with magazine.

The search was conducted on strength of a warrant issued by RTC Branch 42 Judge Genie Gapas-Agbada.

Earlier at 1 A.M. of the same day, a couple working as abaca strippers were arrested for the same offense in San Miguel town after authorities found weapons and ammunitions in their house in sitio Tucao in barangay J.M. Alberto.

Personnel of the town police, the 1st PMFC and the Alpha Company of the 83rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army collared the suspects, identified only as “Badong”, 48, and “Tess”, 43, when searchers discovered a rifle grenade, Smith & Wesson Cal. 38 revolver with two bullets and 43 bullets for different and high-caliber guns in their house.

Also confiscated in the same operation was a pink pouch containing 13 Cal. 45 bullets, a Cal. 38 revolver with defaced serial number, a cylinder revolver, five Cal. 38 bullets, and a replica of a 9mm pistol with magazine.

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