Government security forces manning a checkpoint in the Lanao del Norte town of Sultan Naga Dimaporo (SND) intercepted a pickup truck loaded with firearms and ammunition, police said Wednesday.
Maj. Moamar Solog, SND police chief, said police and Army personnel saw inside the flagged down Toyota Hi-lux pickup what appeared as firearms wrapped in sacks.
Solog said the vehicle bore the logo of the “Municipality of Midsalip,” indicating that it is owned by the local government unit of Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur.
Upon checking, authorities discovered four M16 rifles, an M14 rifle, an improvised .50-caliber rifle, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, launcher, a rifle grenade, three .45-caliber pistols, a 9mm pistol, a .38-caliber revolver, and ammunition.
The three .45-caliber pistols were recovered from the sling bags of three of six men on board the vehicle.
Solog said all the suspects, including the driver, were arrested and charged with violation of the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition, and the election gun ban.
They were identified as Esmail Wali, 42; Adam Tando, 58; Fausto Guinita, 40; Sangbaan Acut, 58, all of SND; and Resil Revillas and Tristan Baguio, both of Midsalip.
“Allegedly, Baguio was the official driver of the vehicle. He is an employee of the local government (of Midsalip),” Solog said in a phone interview.
The suspects claimed they went to Midsalip to vote, but refused to answer queries on why they were carrying firearms.
“One of these men is identified to be a member of the now-defunct criminal group in Lanao del Norte that is engaged in abduction, gun-running, and gun-for-hire activities,” Solog said.
Source: Philippines News Agency