Couple selling arms to local terrorists nabbed in Valenzuela

Operatives of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) arrested a couple allegedly supplying firearms and ammunition to local terrorist groups in Mindanao as well as to “rogue” politicians in an entrapment operation in Valenzuela City on Sunday evening.

In a press briefing on Monday, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde identified the suspects as Edgardo and Rosemarie Medel, residents of Landville Subdivision, Barangay Pambuan, Gapan, Nueva Ecija. They who were arrested around 6:30 p.m. Sunday at a gasoline station along Kilometer 16, Canumay Drive at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).

Albayalde said the operation stemmed from intelligence information provided by PNP units in Mindanao regarding arms sales provided by a civilian informant.

“Further intelligence research revealed that Medel also figured in previous arms transaction with buyers from Mindanao. A subsequent test buy was conducted wherein NCRPO operatives were able to obtain ammunition from Medel, who also assured them he can also supply as many as 10 rifles,” he said.

Albayalde said the couple has agreed to meet the police officer who served as the poseur buyer for the pickup of PHP1.2 million worth of firearms and ammunitions.

Seized during the operation were two assault rifles, a handgun and 12,893 rounds of live ammunition for M-60 light machinegun and M-16 assault rifle.

The PNP said initial investigation showed that among the couple’s clients were the Maute terrorists, the Abu Sayyaf Group as well as the politicians who uses arms to gain advantage against their competitors particularly as the mid-term election nears.

“I just cannot imagine the death and destruction that will result should this war materiel fall into the hands of the New People’s Army, Abu Sayyaf Group, and terror groups,” the PNP chief said.

“Part of the continuing investigation will be to determine the source of these weapons and ammunition, and to possibly identify other persons involved in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.

As the sole repository and regulating office for firearms and ammunition under Republic Act 10591, this contraband, will eventually become among confiscated, captured, surrendered, deposited, abandoned and forfeited (CCSDAF) firearms in PNP custody.

The couple is currently detained at the NCRPO headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City and will be charged with violation of Republic Act 10591 or Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act. (PNA)