Cebu News

3 nabbed, P.5M guns seized in town wharf

Ma. Fatima R. Secuya/NSA - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Three men were arrested for transporting at least 48 guns hidden inside rain boots yesterday dawn at a wharf in Barangay Poblacion, Tabuelan, Cebu.

Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-7 and Tabuelan Police Station were able to confiscate from the suspects at least half a million worth of guns, including high-powered ones, which were transported to the wharf through a truck.

Arrested were Mario Lamoste, Noel Abarquez and the truck driver, Pablo Biabado.

Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, the acting chief of the CIDG-7, said their office first received information about a shipment of firearms from Tabuelan wharf to Negros Island, which will then be transported to Iloilo.

With this, Tayaba said they immediately coordinated with the Tabuelan Police Station in conducting surveillance and monitoring for one week.

At around 1:30 a.m. yesterday, CIDG-7 and Tabuelan police operatives stopped the illegal shipment while conducting a chokepoint.

When they flagged down the suspects’ truck, Tayaba said they immediately saw that it was carrying four boxes of boots and two boxes of rain coats.

They checked the boots and found 31 pieces of cal. 38 revolvers and 14 pieces of 9mm pistols. Further, they found three shotguns and 17 handcuffs.

Tayaba said Lamoste and Abarquez claimed to be security guards from a certain agency and that they were about to transport the firearms to their branches in Negros and in other islands.

However, when asked for the necessary permit to transport, the suspects were not able to show any, which led to their arrest.

“Wala rin naman silang naipakita na security guard I.D. pero pangalan lang sinabi nila sa amin,” said Tayaba.

He said they are still investigating where the firearms come from since the three, as of yesterday, were very uncooperative to them.

“We are still conducting investigation and we will find out later on kung security agency ba ‘to or hindi. But what we are sure of ay talagang mali ang transport or illegal ang firearms,” said Tayaba.

A label “Armscor” was engraved on the firearms which may be related to the Arms Corporation of the Philippines, a firearms manufacturing company.

However, the range manager of the company, Joel Concepcion, denied that the firearms are from them.

“It’s far from our product or the firearms that we make,” said Concepcion.

He said he will have to report the incident to their management whether to file a case against the suspects for using the name of their company.

Tayaba said they will file a case against the three for illegal possession of firearms in relation to election gun ban.

He said as elections draw nearer, they are intensifying their campaign against loose firearms which are mostly used in election-related crimes.

“May directive sa amin to intensify campaign against loose firearms lalo na election period ngayon, these firearms might be used during these election period,” the CIDG-7 acting chief said.

Reporters tried to get the side of the suspects but they refused to say any word. — (FREEMAN)

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