Cops seize illegal firearms from Abra mayoralty bet

Oscar D. Albayalde

AGENTS of the Philippine National Police have seized illegal firearms from a mayoralty candidate in Tayum, Abra as officers move to account for more unlicensed guns and partisan armed groups in the countryside ahead of the May 13 national and local elections, PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde announced yesterday.

I am pleased to announce another successful police effort to take away instruments of violence that may pose a threat to the holding of peaceful and orderly elections on May 13,” he told newsmen at Camp Crame.

The PNP chief said that a cache of high-powered firearms composed of three automatic rifles, four handguns and assorted live ammunition were recovered from the possession and control of Jose Marie Mailed Brillantes, a candidate for mayor of Tayum, Abra.

The raid was conducted by joint PNP-Army operatives on the strength of a search warrant for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 issued by Judge Gina Juan-Chan of the Abra Regional Trial Court Branch 22.

The mayoralty bet is now facing criminal charges for violation of RA 10591, the PNP chief said.

“Similar search operations are also underway elsewhere in other places, particularly in perennial election hotspots.

Gen. Albayalde also said he has ordered the PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force headed by Colonel Romeo M. Caramat Jr. to continue their effort to account for policemen who are serving as unauthorized bodyguards of politicians and candidates in the May 13 polls.

He said that so far, two policemen in Bulacan and another in Masbate have been accosted for violating his directive and are now facing administrative investigation.

In the Masbate incident, he said that the accused policeman was accosted while in shorts and armed with an automatic rifle while providing unauthorized escort to a candidate.

Gen. Albayalde also said that although they are tasked to secure polling centers, they are also hard-pressed in catching persons engaged in ‘vote-buying’ activities.

He admitted that it’s really very hard to catch ‘vote-buyers’ in the act since there have been charges and counter-charges from opposing political groups.  Until now, he said that no candidate has been disqualified nor jailed for ‘vote-buying.’

Meanwhile, police arrested a barangay chairman in San Isidro, Isabela or illegal possession of high-powered firearms and ammunition late last week, Police Regional Office 2 director, Brigadier General Jose Mario M. Espino said yesterday.