2 policemen, 17 armed men nabbed in Pagadian City
PAGADIAN CITY — Despite the election gun ban, 19 armed men, most of them wearing masks, and on board two vehicles, were trapped by Army troops in Barangay Danlugan, Pagadian City on Monday.
Two of the arrested were active police officers identified as Police Senior Master Sergeant Rex Barmeda assigned at Zamboanga del Sur and Police Corporal Michael Dagupan of the Pagadian City police.
Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria, 53rd IB commander, said his battalion received a call for help from Danlugan residents because of the presence of armed men in two pick-up vehicles. They were wearing masks and roaming around their village.
He immediately called a joint law enforcement operation with the Pagadian City police, along with lawyer Jossil Macute, provincial supervisor of the Commission on Elections, which led to the apprehension.
Of the 19 arrested individuals, 13 had firearms but no one claimed ownership of three more firearms found inside the two vehicles.
Recovered from the scene were five M16 rifles, seven caliber-45 pistols, two caliber-357 revolvers, a 9-mm pistol, a caliber-38 revolver, a caliber-22 revolver, several assorted ammunition, and 17 masks.
Macute said the arrests of the armed elements should serve as a warning that the military, along with the police, were serious in ensuring the safety of the electorate in the May 13 elections.
Arrested with the two police officers were a certain Joel Morales, Celso Labayo, Ken Redondo, Anthony Basaya, Art Tesorio, James Mendiola, Jimmy Mendiola, Randy Abad, Antonio Onac, Juvy Siabok, Junifer Daud, Michael Ganub, Jhoniven Sebag, Monching Angalay, Alvin de la Cruz, Dioscoro Escario, and Jason Escario.
The apprehended individuals and recovered firearms were brought to Pagadian City Police Station for proper disposition and filing of charges.
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