2 men caught smuggling gun parts ‘for Duterte assassination’
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) recently arrested two men for smuggling gun parts worth P4.5 million from the United States to Bacolod City.
At a press conference on Thursday at Camp Crame, Philippine National Police chief Dir. Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa presented one of the arrested suspects Wilford Palma, who revealed that they sold gun parts that could be assembled into more than 100 M-16 rifles to a client who said “he will use the guns to assassinate President Duterte.”
Palma said he and his boss Bryan Ta-ala, who is currently confined at a hospital but is under police custody, sold “more than 100 upper receivers, 40 barrels, 30 bolt assemblies” to the client.
Dela Rosa declined to divulge the identity of the client while the investigation is ongoing.
“Most likely hindi siguro siya gun-for-hire. Baka inutusan siya ng sindikato na bilhin para gamitin for that purpose,” Dela Rosa said.
(Most likely he’s not a “gun-for-hire.” He might only be working for a syndicate to buy these for that purpose.)
But Palma said the client bought the gun parts even before Duterte was elected into office.
CIDG operatives arrested the two in an operation against loose firearms at Villa Cristina Subdivision in Barangay (village) Tangub last August 6.
CIDG director Chief Supt. Roel Obusan said the suspects used fictitious names and fake documents when claiming packages containing the contraband from US. The smuggled gun parts, usually placed in a “balikbayan box,” were shipped to the country through legitimate international cargo forwarders.
Obusan said Ta-ala and Palma sold smuggled gun parts to clients they transacted with on a Facebook group “Pinoy Pistol Forum.”
Dela Rosa said the US Homeland Security, which has been monitoring the shipping of Ta-ala, relayed the information to the Bureau of Customs and the CIDG.
“Sa US, kapag ganito karami ang bibilihin, that’s already questionable procurement. Lalo na masyado silang nagbabantay sa terrorism,” he said.
(In the US, if they are purchasing this big an amount, that’s already considered as a questionable procurement. Especially because they are on alert when it comes to terrorism.)
The gun sellers are facing charges for violation of Republic Act. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
Dela Rosa also urged other clients to surrender the firearms they bought from Ta-ala’s group, or else the police will pursue them.
“Surrender nila ‘yung nabili nila kung talagang honest victim lang sila. Bitkima naman sila dahil binentahan sila ng contraband,” he said.
“Kung surrender nila ‘yung mga nakuha nila hindi naman sila habulin pero kung hindi nila surrender hahabulin namin sila. Delikado itong mga parts na ito kung nasa kamay ng mga civilians na hindi authorized humawak,” the police chief added.
(They must surrender what they have purchased if they are just honest victims. They are victims because they were sold contraband.
If they surrender what they had bought, they won’t be pursued, but if they don’t, then they would be sought out. These parts are dangerous if they fall into the hands of unauthorized civilians.) CDG/rga
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