POLICE Regional Office 7 director, Chief Superintendent Debold M. Sinas, yesterday ordered a tightened watch for illegal guns being smuggled on ports and bus terminals in Central Visayas amid suspicions they may be used by partisan armed groups in sowing trouble during the mid-term elections next year.
The official issued the order amid the two consecutive foiled smuggling of dozens of handguns in Cebu this week.
“This is the second time that a large shipment of illegal firearms had been intercepted in the different ports of Cebu island province and all indications show that they came from illegal gun-makers in Danao City,” said the Central Visayas police director.
Sinas said they are not discounting the possibility that some rogue politicians maintaining partisan armed groups are now trying to stockpile weapons they could use in the incoming national elections. “We suspect that those behind the attempted firearms smuggling might be planning to use those weapons to disrupt the election process next year,” he said.
Sinas said that in the wake of the two foiled gun smuggling attempts, they will soon launch a massive crackdown against clandestine firearms’ manufacturers in Danao City and other parts of the region prior to the election period. “We will be doing this to prevent the proliferation of illegal firearms in the region and other parts of the country,” he said.
Around 9 p.m. Thursday, PRO7 agents, together with members of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Maritime Group and the Cebu City Port Police acted on an information from the Regional Intelligence Unit 7 regarding the presence of some passengers trying to smuggle firearms in a ‘Ro-Ro’ vessel.
As a result, officers who inspected the Joyful Starts Roble Shipping in Pier 4, Cebu Port area arrested suspects Joel Pedrosa, 45, and Herman Gagmatan, 31, both residents of Marabut, Samar for their attempt to smuggle five caliber .45 pistols, six cal. .357 revolvers, four cal. .38 revolvers and 10.45 magazines.
The weapons were found inside a school bus owned by the Marabut municipal government Sinas said officers found one .45 pistol at the top of the bus’ speaker buffer. Further search led in the recovery of the other firearms and magazines without ammunition.