By Jigger J. Jerusalem
THE Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-10 (CIDG-10) is looking into the possibility that unlicensed firearms may be used to supply would-be gunmen to harass and intimidate political candidates.
Maj. Napoleon Carpio, CIDG-10 deputy regional chief, said last Thursday they are investigating the report that loose firearms are being lent to hired guns in the run-up to the midterm elections on May 13, particularly in Lanao del Norte, where they made several arrests.
Carpio said they have yet to identify a particular person who may have committed such act but they are keeping a close watch on towns and provinces identified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) as those under areas of concern following an episode of violence in a Lanao del Norte town recently.
It can be recalled that the whole of Mindanao was declared by the Comelec as election hotspot.
In a recent joint security briefing Col. Surki Sereñas, police regional spokesperson, said Lanao del Norte is Northern Mindanao’s “closely watched” province after the supporters of two political candidates exchange gunfire wounding four persons in Salvador early this month.
During its operations, the CIDG-10 has arrested at least four persons for possession of illegal firearms and explosives in Lanao del Norte, under its “Oplan Paglalansag.”
Confiscated during simultaneous CIDG-10 raids in said province were handguns and rifles such as M1, M16, shotgun, several ammunition magazines and other types of ammunition, and grenades.
Two additional persons, believed to be members of the Racoman Criminal Group, and suspected of gunrunning were also apprehended in Bukidnon. Seized from them were a .45 caliber pistol and ammunition and an improvised sub-machine gun.
The suspects were charged for violation of RA 10591 and RA 9516 for illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives, as well as the Omnibus Election Code.
CDIG-10 has also arrested two wanted persons in Aloran, Misamis Occidental and Barangay Patag, this city.
Lt. Col. Raymund Liguden, CIDG-10 regional chief, said “the unrelenting anti-crime operations being conducted by the PNP-CIDG is regular yet became more intense to also rid the region of threats to the forthcoming national and [local elections].”
Liguden said that from March 15 to April 24, CIDG-10 has already implemented 38 search warrants against suspected personalities with 31 arrests made, confiscated 36 firearms of different calibers and five grenades, and hundreds of ammunition.