By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana Monday said an investigation will be conducted to determine how firearms and ammunition believed to be the property of the Philippine Army (PA) ended up in the hands of a couple.
The couple, who was arrested in Valenzuela City on Sunday night, reportedly sells the high-powered firearms and ammunition to interested groups.
“We’ll investigate how these ammo ended up in the wrong hands,” Lorenzana said.
In a press conference at Camp Crame, Quezon City, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) received a tip from a confidential informant that the couple–Edgardo Medel, 46, and his wife Rosemarie, 34, of Daisy Street, Land Ville Subdivision, BarangayPambuan, Gapan, Nueva Ecija–was supplying bulk of unlicensed firearms and ammunition for a hefty price to Maute terrorists, the Abu Sayyaf Group and rogue politicians.
Elements of NCRPO-Regional Special Operations Unit (RSOU) and Regional Intelligence Division (RID) apprehended the suspects after buying two assault rifles, a handgun, and 12, 893 rounds of live ammunition worth P1.2 million.
The transaction occurred around 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the service station along North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) while the couple were on board an L300 van (REV 675).
Albayalde said the couple’s three minor children who were inside the vehicle during the buy bust were turned over to social workers following the arrest of their parents.
The firearms and ammunition presented by Albayalde were stored in two crates showing markings of the Philippine Army (PA).
Albayalde revealed the couple was in contact with a retired AFP soldier, who may have been the source of the high-powered firearms and ammunition which the couple was selling to interest groups
The PNP chief withheld the identity of the retired soldier.
The suspects who are facing charges in relation to Republic Act 10591 were brought to the NCRPO headquarters.
p class=MsoNoSpacing>However, the committee report did not include former Customs chief Isidro Lapeña in the list of personalities who have criminal culpability. Lapeña was at the helm of the BOC leadership at the time the magnetic lifters were shipped to the country.
The committee report has reached and implicated public officers up to the Deputy Director General in PDEA and deputy commissioner in the BOC.
“This is not to say that those involved cannot go any higher,” he said.
“We dread to think that it might; we fear for the country and for its citizens, and thus, the need to investigate more in order to determine with certainty all the people responsible for these abhorrent acts,” the senator said.
The report also recommended the elimination of consignees for hire and to strengthen the coordination and cooperation between the BOC, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the registration and accreditation of consignees.
The report also called on the AMLC and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate the alleged rampant use of fictitious names and fake Alien Certificates of Registration (ACR) in the opening of bank accounts, and business registrations for nefarious purposes.
The report cited the names of at least seven Chinese nationals allegedly involved in the shabu shipment and who were recommended by the panel to be criminally charged.