National Bureau of Investigation agents, accompanied by Army soldiers, swooped down on the defunct Maricalum Mining Corp. site in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, early yesterday morning in search of illegal firearms and hauled in about 21 security guards for questioning.
The security guards belonging to two security agencies said about 21 of them were picked up by the NBI agents at the mine site and brought to their Bacolod office.
Twelve of the guards from the San Vicente Security Agency in Cebu and nine from DSRwere hired by the National Mines and Allied Workers Union to secure property at the mines, they said.
NBI Bacolod head Renoir Baldovino said local NBI men and the Army just assisted NBI agents from Manila in serving a search warrant issued by a Quezon City judge for illegal possession of firearms.
Baldovino said it appears that the less than 10 firearms they seized may have been those issued to the security guards that are still subject for verification.
The NBI agents, about 20 of them, were accompanied by the Army in the service of the search warrant that was peaceful, he said.
He was not authorized to issue any further statement or details regarding the operation of the Manila-based agents, as he and his men just served as an augmentation force, Baldovino said.
The search had nothing to do with the recent disarming of other guards at the mine site last week, he said.
A group of unidentified armed men, clad in military uniforms and wearing bonnets, disarmed six security guards of G-Holdings Inc. of their firearms at the Maricalum Mining Corp. compound in Brgy. San Jose, Sipalay City, on March 1.
The eight suspects, who carried M-14 and M-16 assault rifles with M-203grenade launchers, divested the six members of Ultrafine Security Agency, based at the ECO Park of the MMC compound, of five 12 gauge shotguns with ammunition, a 9mm caliber pistol and their cellular phones, Chief Inspector Romeo Vargas, Sipalay City police officer-in-charge, said earlier.
The 21 guards brought in yesterday were allegedly hired by one of three National Mines and Allied Workers Union Local 103 factions claiming possession of the defunct MMC properties for their members who are former employees of the mines.
There are about 1,000 former MMC workers claiming P159 million allegedly due them that should be paid with properties from the defunct mine site.*CPG
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