CAGAYAN, Philippines- Two sons of Gonzaga town’s mayor, and a farmer were nabbed after authorities here seized high-powered guns and bullets from the suspects in separate operations on Saturday morning, March 24.
In a press briefing in Aparri, police presented the suspects Jonjie Pentecostes and Jondell Pentecostes, 39, both sons of Mayor Marilyn Pentecostes; and farmer Antionio Bucaneg, 57.
Forces of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Northern Cagayan, Gonzaga Police, Regional Mobile Force Battalion, and Naval Intelligence Service Unit with Regional Intelligence Division conducted the operation in the suspects’ houses in Barangay Paradise, Gonzaga.
Confiscated from Jonjie were a caliber .45 pistol, caliber .40 , caliber 9 mm pistol, nine live ammunition for caliber 9 mm pistol, live ammunition for caliber 5.56 M16 rifle, two high capacity magazine for .40 caliber, 33 live ammunition for caliber .40.
Police identified Jonjie as a tokhang surrenderer and “high value target.”
Meanwhile, authorities seized from Jondell a .45 caliber pistol, a .40 caliber pistol, one magazine for caliber .40, two magazines for caliber .45,16 live ammunition from caliber .45, and four magazines for M16 rifle.
A caliber .45 pistol, and two magazines and 15 ammunition for for.45 were found in Bucaneg’s house in the same barangay.
CIDG Assistant Regional Chief Police Superintendent Julius Jacinto said most of the guns were found under the suspects’ beds while the ammunition were found in cabinets.
Authorities were serving to the suspects search warrants in violation of Republic Act 10591 or the “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act” filed by Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 89.
Yet, police said the suspects’ case was bailable, given the number of firearms seized individually from the suspects.
‘Illegal gun suppliers’
Jacinto said the three are members of a newly-identified drug runner group which supplies illegal guns to businessmen, politicians, and private individuals here.
During the press conference, Jacinto reported the arrest of suspects’ supplier, a certain Roger Asuncion, in an entrapment operation in Buguey town.
Jacinto said the gun-running group’s clients can reach up to Isabela.
Cagayan Provincial Police Director Senior Superintendent Warren Gaspar Tolito told media that the operation was kept “highly secret” and “very confidential.”
“Itong operation na ito, it was made secret ng mga operatives natin. It was not made known to anybody. In fact even yung surveillance sa kanila ay hindi rin natin nalaman until such time that it became positive na-identify na meron silang mga illegal na baril,” Tolito said.
“The more na dumadami yung nabebentahan, the more na mas madaling ma-monitor yung sinong nagbibigay diyan,” Tolito added.
He added that the surveillance was also kept silent, given the “possible influence” the suspects.
The provincial director also noted the filing of search warrants outside Cagayan, adding that this assured “nothing will leak.”
Tolito said police and intel groups have been receiving information on the suspects since last year.
Jacinto added CIDG proceeded in the operation when they had verified intel.
“For the past two months, diyan tayo nagconentrate na maggather ng tunay na impormasyon para ma-confirm natin yung presence ng mga nasa kanilang possession,” Jacinto said.
No possible involvement
Meanwhile, Tolito believes Mayor Pentecostes has no ties with the gun group, adding that the mayor has distanced herself from her two sons.
“Sabi ni mayor noon nung nag-usap kami, kung may involvement sila sa mga illegal activities, huliin ninyo. Hindi ko sila i-cocondone. Matanda na sila, alam na nilang mag-isip at kung may involvement talaga sila diyan, huliin natin,” Tolito shared.
Tolito also said Pentecostes even witnessed the inventory of the confiscated items.
He also clarified the operation was not done in the mayor’s house which is located in Barangay Flourishing.
“We understand the sensitivity of this case considering na yung dalawa is coming from a well-known family here in Cagayan,” Tolito added. Northernforum.net