Firearms seized in Cagayan de Oro raids
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story said the raids took place in Iligan City. The raids happened in Cagayan de Oro City. We regret this error.
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – Various firearms were seized in simultaneous raids inside the houses of a trader and an alleged gunrunner by the Martial Law - Special Action Group (ML-SAG) in Zone 5, Barangay Bonbon and in Barangay Pagatpat, on Friday morning, July 28.
Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said the raiding team confiscated two long firearms, M4 and AK47 rifles, and 5 assorted handguns including calibers .45 and .38 pistols, inside the residence of Jameloding Tago.
Tago is living in a compound with his family and his brother Jabar, who lives in a separate but identical house. The compound also has a warehouse containing bundles of used clothing, which is the brothers’ business.
Last February, two motorcycle-riding men drove by Jabar Marketing, a store that sells used clothing within the Cogon Market area, and shot one of its employees who was killed on the spot. The perpetrators were also gunned down by a still unidentified person.
Investigators suspect the shooting outside the store owned by the Tagos may have a connection to the political tension in the town of Pantar, Lanao del Norte. Jabar used to run for mayor against Mohammad Exchan Limbona, who was killed in an ambush in Iligan City last December.
Jabar was not around during the raid.
According to the search warrant, authorities had reason to believe Tago possessed various firearms.
Martinez said Tago surrendered two .45 caliber pistols kept at Jabar Marketing, aside from those taken inside his house.
Tago also presented permits for the seized and surrendered firearms but Martinez said “these (papers) are still subject for verification.”
Lawyer Anthony Ponce de Leon, legal counsel for the Tagos family, said his clients were "shocked because they know their guns are licensed."
De Leon added the firearms were for his clients’ protection – as one of them entered politics in Lanao del Norte – and for their business.
The second raid
The raiding team also recovered 3 handguns and a long firearm inside the house of Jalaludin Bacaraman Lao at Mindanao Homes in Pagatpat.
Lao was not around but the ML-SAG invited his wife to answer queries. His wife failed to submit gun permits to the ML-SAG.
Based on their information, Martinez said Lao was an alleged gunrunner suspected of providing lawless elements with weapons.
Lao’s name surfaced after about 8,000 rounds of live ammunition for M16 and .30 caliber rifles were confiscated in a warehouse in Barangay Camaman-an last June 23. – Rappler.com