TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: At least 34 high-powered firearms licensed under the Cagayan provincial government are missing and feared to have gone into the hands of either criminals or communist rebels.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said the firearms were licensed under the provincial government but Gov. Manuel Mamba said there are no records on the licensing of the guns.
Last year, the police chief here wrote the provincial government to renew the license of the 34 firearms issued to the province.
“If these firearms are existing, we fear that these are in the hands of some criminals or that they may have gone into the possession of communist rebels,” Mamba said.
Based on records of the Firearms and Explosive Unit in Camp Crame in Quezon City, the licenses of 30 AK-47 assault rifles issued on September 25, 2012 and four NORIN 7.62 caliber rifles issued on September 13, 2013 expired on March 31, 2014.
It appeared that these high-powered firearms were all registered under the provincial government during the administration of then-governor Alvaro Antonio.
But Mamba said their investigation found no record of the firearms and that the guns are not in the custody of the General Services Office.
He added that there was no proof or record of any transaction made by the provincial budget office and the provincial treasurer’s office regarding the purchase of the firearms.
A letter of Mamba to Supt. Bernardo Borrinaga, Regional Civil Security Unit of the Police Regional Office 2 (RCSU-PRO2) chief, said there was no memorandum receipt to prove that the 34 firearms were officially turned over to the then-provincial government.
Earlier, Mamba received a copy of an RCSU letter to the Civil Security Unit chief in Camp Crame stating that the firearms are not in the custody of the provincial capitol.
Mamba appealed to the RCSU-PRO2 to drop the criminal and administrative charges against the provincial government in relation to the missing firearms and asked that records showing those are with the provincial government should be stricken off.
The governor said he fears that the provincial government will be involved in case the missing firearms are used for committing crimes.
Mamba said he is conducting further investigation to find out whether there was intentional destruction of pieces of evidence to make it appear there are no records to show who purchased the firearms.