Lantuds deny having guns, Cafgu ‘private army’
Eleanor Dimaporo Lantud on Friday denied that neither she nor her husband, Mayor Lacson Lantud of Pantao Ragat, Lanao del Norte, maintained a private army and kept high-powered weapons and explosives in their house.
Lantud made the statement in reaction to a recent privilege speech in Congress by Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte’s first district, who recalled a police raid on the Lantud residence before the 2013 elections. Eleanor was mayor of Pantao Ragat at the time.
Operatives of the Joint Peace Security Control Center and the Philippine National Police seized a cache of high-powered guns and rifles, explosives and ammunitions.
Aside from their apparent violation of the election gun ban, Mrs. Lantud and her husband, who was then vice mayor, were also charged with illegal possession of firearms.
Rep. Dimaporo also pointed out that Lacson Lantud used the local Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit or Cafgu as a private army. He also questioned why the case against the Lantuds has not moved, four years after it was filed with the Department of Justice.
Eleanor Lantud, however, insisted the charges were exaggerated.
“The weapons and ammunition were never ours. They were planted,” she maintained.
Mrs. Lantud claimed that many of the armaments in their house were harmless guns and rifles that belonged to her sons’ paintball team. She added that even the Dimaporos—her relatives—attended those paintball sporting events.
Mrs. Lantud stressed that her husband never had a private army, saying that since the government checkpoint was near their residence, soldiers often deposited their arms and ammunition at their home when they went off duty. She said soldiers in the provinces often made a business out of their weapons by selling them.
“My husband, Lacson, is a moral person. He doesn’t like it when he sees the Cafgu sell or pawn their arms to make money,” she said.
Lantud said the Dimaporo clan and the Lantuds have a longstanding rift over principles, saying the Dimaporos “have been smearing their reputation.”
She cited an earlier House hearing where the Dimparos presented wrong photos for evidence. One showed uniforms and weapons that were said to belong to their private army when they were actually from her son’s paintball team.
Moreover, the interiors of their house were portrayed as shabby and wooden when it is actually made of cement with tiles.
“All these politics is mixed up with falsehood,” said Mrs. Lantud.