By Jigger J. Jerusalem
AUTHORITIES are now investigating if a politician is the real owner of the firearms and ammunition stashed inside a house rented by a woman in Lanao del Norte.
The Criminal and Investigation Detection Group-10 (CIDG-10) identified the suspect as Mary Ann Canoy, 36, married, and a resident of Barangay Labuay in Maigo town, Lanao del Norte.
CIDG-10 said the suspect is a former overseas Filipino worker although investigators did not provide additional information on her personal background.
Canoy was arrested by a joint team of police and military operatives last Friday afternoon when they found firearms and ammunition tucked under the bed inside the house she is renting.
Confiscated were a shotgun, three M16 rifles, two M1 Garand rifles, six pieces bandolier, a caliber .45 pistol and two clips of ammunition, a holster, and three boxes of assorted ammunition.
But Maj. Napoleon Carpio, CIDG-10 deputy regional chief, said the suspect may be working for someone else.
“This woman is being utilized by a higher person,” Carpio said in a phone interview Saturday morning, adding that Canoy insisted that she has no knowledge of the firearms.
Based on what they have gathered, Canoy’s employer is a political figure, but they could not yet divulge the identity of the politician pending further investigation, Carpio said.
He added they are conducting follow-up operation that will lead to the arrest Canoy’s employer and others involved.
That a politician may be the actual owner of the firearms confiscated from Canoy will bolster CIDG-10’s suspicion that loose firearms might be used by goons hired by political candidates to intimidate or harass opponents and supporters as the local and national elections near, Carpio said.
Canoy is the latest addition of arrested people of the CIDG-10’s continuing campaign to track down loose firearms under the agency’s “Oplan Paglalansag.”
Last month, CIDG-10 arrested two people in separate raids in Lanao del Norte where a number of firearms were confiscated.
Apprehended in the April 24 raids were Glenn Francis Tero, of Barangay Panoloon, and Jessie Alger, of Barangay Katipunan, all in Sapad, Lanao del Norte.
Seized from the suspects were a caliber .45 pistol, an M1 Garand rifle, an M16 rifle, a shotgun, two rifle grenades, a hand grenade, and hundreds of various types of ammunition.
All the suspects are facing charges of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, while Tero and Alger will also be charged with illegal possession of explosives.