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Rebels dispute report all they got from mayor’s home were shotguns

/ 05:46 PM April 15, 2014

AFP FILE PHOTO

DIGOS CITY, Philippines—Communist rebels said they got more than just shotguns in Sunday’s raid on the house of Mayor James Joyce of the municipality of Jose Abad Santos in Davao Davao Occidental, which they said proved that the local executive was a warlord.

In a press statement on Monday, the National Democratic Front’s Far South Mindanao Command said guerrillas of the Alex Ababa Command of the New People’s Army who carried out the raid on Joyce’s house in Barangay (village) Culaman in Jose Abad Santos carted away high-powered firearms that included Armalite rifles and a grenade launcher.

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Contrary to the police report that the raiders had taken 16 homemade shotguns, the local NDF spokesman Efren Aksasato said the guerrillas actually took four shotguns from Joyce’s “goons” along with an M203 grenade launcher, an M-16 Armalite rifle, two .30-caliber Carbine rifles, two M-14 rifles and a .38-caliber handgun and assorted ammunition.

“The attack was planned to punish Joyce, who is a political warlord and counter-revolutionary,” Aksasato said in the statement.

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He said the mayor’s private army was being used against civilians with the blessing of the military.

Joyce also faces criminal charges such as land grabbing and murder in a revolutionary court, he said.

Joyce could not be reached for comment but a military report said the mayor’s guards were “peace and development volunteers.”

Joyce’s ownership of a large number of firearms caught the attention of the National Bureau of Investigation and Joyce men yield high-powered firearms such as AK47s during a raid on Aug. 12, 2012.

The mayor was subsequently sued for illegal possession of firearms but the charges were dismissed by prosecutors after he presented documents showing his ownership of the weapons was legal.

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