PNP chief suspects syndicates going online to sell firearms

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Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Guillermo Eleazar, on Monday said he is not discounting the possibility that some gun-running syndicates are using online platforms to sell loose firearms with only nine months left before the 2022 national and local elections.

This, after the police and military operatives confiscated assorted high-powered firearms and over 5,000 rounds of ammunition as well as disassembled parts of caliber .50 and M16 rifles in Quezon City and Bulacan on September 8.

“In our aggressive campaign against loose firearms as part of the early security preparations for the 2022 elections, we are not discounting the possibility that some gun-running syndicates are using the online platforms for their illegal activities,” Eleazar said in a video message.

Eleazar said he directed the PNP Intelligence Group and Anti-Cybercrime Group to intensify information gathering and monitoring of the illegal activities of the gun-running syndicates.

“Guns are the common instrument in committing crimes that is why we have to step our preemptive campaign through aggressive operations against those who sell them illegallyespecially now that the election is approaching where these loose firearms can be used to sabotage and commit violence,” Eleazar said partly in Filipino.

He also tasked police offices and units to intensify intelligence gathering measures to locate other areas or warehouses that could have been illegally used as storage of firearms.

Eleazar earlier ordered all police commanders to start security preparations ahead of next year’s elections by running after private armed groups and loose firearms that could threaten the peaceful conduct of the elections.

On September 9, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) National Capital Region also arrested members of criminal group and seized firearms, ammunition, and P503,000 worth shabu in an entrapment operation in Pateros.

In a report released on Monday, CIDG chief, Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, identified the suspects as Francis Mariano, John Peter Villamar, and Rodel Solomon.

The three, he said, are members of the “Loloy Fernandez Group” engaged in illegal drugs, gunrunning, and gun-for-hire activities in the southern part of Metro Manila and Calabarzon.

Ferro lauded the “relentless and intensified anti-criminality campaign” of the police that amounted to the success of the operation.

“Rest assured that we will be in the frontline and ever ready to step further in our battle against criminality,” he added.

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