PNP, AFP to probe possible military weapons theft
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will conduct a joint investigation on the possible theft of high-powered guns and ammunition from the military’s arsenal.
Police arrested on Sunday two alleged gunrunners who are both high-value-targets. The suspects, police said, are allegedly supplying weapons to the ISIS-inspired Maute Group, the Abu Sayyaf group, and some politicians.
Police recovered from the suspects two assault rifles, a handgun, and 12,893 rounds of live ammunition for an M60 light machine gun and an M16 assault rifle. The items were concealed in wooden boxes with AFP markings.
Police added that the suspects are connected to a retired soldier who allegedly supplies them with the guns and ammunition.
Albayalde said he has already coordinated with Major General Filemon Santos Jr. who heads the Army’s 7th Infantry Division (ID) in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija which was said to have initially received the firearms.
“We will be conducting a joint investigation and they are so much willing to cooperate dito sa gagawing imbestigasyon (in the investigation to be done),” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Albayalde said the supposed theft is a “serious matter,” as the P1.2 million worth of weapons recovered from the suspects in the police operation could go to private armed groups, especially those based in Mindanao.
“Kung talagang totoo na nanggaling sa arsenal nila ito (recovered firearms and ammunition), napakadelikado nito, napakarami, almost 13,000 rounds and high-powered firearms na nanggaling doon at pumupunta sa kamay ng mga terrorists or even criminal groups lalo na sa parteng Mindanao,” he said.
(If it’s true that it came from their arsenal, this is so dangerous, almost 13,000 rounds and high-powered firearms that came from there and given to the hands of terrorists and even criminal groups especially in Mindanao.) /muf
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