A couple allegedly supplying ammunitions and firearms to terrorist groups and private armed groups in Mindanao were arrested in Nueva Ecija on Sunday.
The police said the war materiel worth millions of pesos seized from the couple’s possession may have come from a government arsenal.
The cache of ammunitions consisting of 12,893 rounds for M-60 machine gun and armalite assault rifle and two high-powered firearms were intercepted by operatives of the National Capital Region Police Office from a Nueva Ecija based couple at 6 pm on Sunday.
NCRPO director Guillermo Eleazar identified the alleged illegal arms dealer as Edgardo and Rosemarie Medel, residents of Landville Subdivision, Barangay Pambuan, Gapan, Nueva Ecija.
The ammunitions were placed inside a wooden box with an Armed Forces of the Philippines markings. Investigators suspect that the war materiels came from a government arsenal.
The seizure of cache of ammunitions, prompted Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to order an investigation into the matter.
“We’ll investigate how these ammo ended up in the wrong hands,” he said.
The operation was made after NCRPO operatives acted on reports from their colleagues in Mindanao that arms supplies are being provided by the Medel couple who had also figured in previous arms transactions in Mindanao.
Prior to the seizure, operatives conducted a test buy of ammunition from Medel, who told undercover security officials that they can supply as many as 10 rifles.
The NCRPO operatives then initiated a buybust operations, sending undercover agents to purchase the weapons and ammunitions worth P1.2 million.
At 6:30 pm, the couple arrived on aboard a white van bearing license plate REV 675 at the service station along NLEX where the transaction was made.
The couple were immediately arrested after accepting the P1.2 million marked money from two undercover female operatives who posed as buyers of the weapons and ammunition purportedly to be used for the upcoming midterm elections in 2019.
PNP Chief Oscar Abayalde said they have identified the couple’s sources, who, according to the suspects, was a retired military soldier from Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.
“We have names actually for verification allegedly meron siyang connection sa Fort Magsaysay,” Albayalde said.
The PNP chief have yet to identify the source, but said that the alleged military officer could have been keeping the firearms and ammunitions for a time when he was still in active duty and decided to dispose of them only now.
When asked if the ammunitions came from the Philippine Army, Albayalde said yes, but added that he will talk to Philippine Army authorities to determine the “lot numbers” of the firearms which could easily be traced to the unit that disposed them.
“I just cannot imagine the death and destruction that will result should these war materials fall into the hands of the New People’s Army or the Abu Sayyaf Group,” Albayalde said.