CATBALOGAN CITY- The Philippine National Police (PNP) Samar provincial office recovered loose firearms from a village chief in Calbayog City, fearing some groups might be preparing to instill rule of fear in next year’s elections.
Chief Insp. Sulpecio Jabagat, PNP Samar spokesperson, said that investigation is ongoing on why a local official in an upland Patong village have to keep assorted firearms.
Several firearms were recovered by the police in a raid on August 14 at the houses of Patong village chief Jemuel de Pablo and some of his relatives.
The village official was not around during the raid, but a family member, Jomar de Pablo was arrested for illegal possession of firearms.
The raiding team executed the search warrant issued by Judge Agerico Avila of Regional Trial Court Branch 29 base in this city.
“It’s possible that some groups will use these guns to harass candidates and their supporters in next year’s elections. We are investigating how they acquired these firearms since some serial number indicates that these are the same model as those acquired by the government,” Jabagat told reporters.
The Samar police intelligence team recovered during the raid caliber .45 pistols, magazines, carbine rifles, revolvers, homemade shotguns, grenades, live ammunitions, and improvised shotguns.
“I wonder why an official in a remote village have to keep these firearms since he’s not a police or an army. They’re not able to show proof that these firearms are licensed. I’m sure these are intended somewhere else,” he added.
The police official cannot confirm if the village official is part of the private armed group in Samar.
Jabagat said they are stepping up intelligence gathering on loose firearms in Calbayog City, known for spate of violence especially during election period.
This year alone, more than 10 shooting incidents occurred in the city, the official said.
The latest was on August 7 where a lone gunman riding a motorcycle killed the city’s assistant engineer Rafaelito Serrano.
Calbayog, one of the biggest cities in the country in terms of land area, has been known as election hotspot due to intense political rivalries.