Nine guns, mostly high-powered, 15 magazines, two silencers, and eight ammunition were seized from three suspects, one of them a soldier, in an entrapment operation at the South Ceres Terminal at Luzuriaga Street in Bacolod City, at about 5:30 a.m. yesterday.
Recovered were a 9mm caliber pistol, a 9mm Ingram, a 9mm KG9 sub machine pistol, two .357 caliber revolvers, two .9mm black widow revolvers, two .45 caliber pistols, 15 magazines, two silencers, and eight ammunition, a police report said.
Four cellular phones, P3,840 in cash, and the buy-bust money consisting of P1,000 in marked bills inserted in a bundle of boodle money worth P47,000 were also confiscated, police records show.
Police Insp. Renoli Bagayao, head of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Bacolod, said the entrapment also led to the arrest of Corporal Kim Gavasan, 36, Franklin Olimpo, 30, of Murcia town, and Bal dela Peña, 33, of Escalante City, Negros Occidental.
Gavasan is still in active service and is assigned at the Civil Military Operation Batallion, 32nd Company of the Philippine Army, based in Danao City, Cebu province, Bagayao said.
The firearms were wrapped in paper and hidden in two big backpacks containing clothes, Bagayao said.
He said a police poseur-buyer transacted to buy a .45 caliber pistol worth P17,000 and a KG9 sub machine pistol worth P35,000 from the suspects.
After the buy-bust, the operatives searched Gavasan, Olimpo and dela Peña and recovered guns from them, Bagayao said, adding that the suspects failed to present documents for the firearms.
Gavasan, who is from Cebu, transported the guns via a roll-on-roll-off vessel going to Escalante, where he picked up dela Peña. They then boarded a bus going to the Bacolod North Terminal, Bagayao said.
Dela Peña and Gavasan proceeded to Bacolod South Terminal where Olimpo, who made the gun transaction with the police poseur-buyer, was waiting for them, Bagayao said.
The suspects, who had been under surveillance for a year now, told the police the other guns were to be delivered to Binalbagan and some to Kabankalan, where they have contacts who would distribute them.
Bagayao said the seized guns, which are all homemade, are not government-owned, but there is posibility that these will be used in the coming elections.
The police are also investigating whether the suspects are part of a group selling guns, or are involved in gun-running activities in the Negros Island Region, as their transactions cover not only in Negros Occidental but also Negros Oriental, Bagayao said.
He said they will verify from the Camp Crame if the guns are licensed or not.
Bagayao said charges for violation of Republic Act 10591 or illegal selling and possession of firearms and ammunition, and the Commission on Elections gun ban, which are not bailable, are being readied against Gavasan, Olimpo and dela Peña.
The DAILY STAR reached the suspects, who are now detained at the CIDG-Bacolod lock-up cell, but they refused to be interviewed.
The entrapment was a joint operation of the Bacolod CIDG as lead unit, with the Negros Occidental CIDG and Negros Occidental Police Public Safety Company-Special Weapons and Tactics Unit operatives, and in coordination with the Bacolod City Police Office.*SGG
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