• PNP foils kill Duterte plot

    GUN SMUGGLERS? Philippine National Police chief Ronald de la Rosa (left) and Chief Supt. Roel Obusan (right), head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, present Wilford Palma (center), member of an alleged group of gun smugglers said to have been tapped to supply firearms for a plot to assassinate the President. Authorities also showed to the media gun parts seized from the group. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

    GUN SMUGGLERS? Philippine National Police chief Ronald de la Rosa (left) and Chief Supt. Roel Obusan (right), head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, present Wilford Palma (center), member of an alleged group of gun smugglers said to have been tapped to supply firearms for a plot to assassinate the President. Authorities also showed to the media gun parts seized from the group. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

    THE PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) on Thursday claimed to have foiled a plot to assassinate President Rodrigo Duterte, after busting a syndicate that allegedly smuggled high-powered firearms through balikbayan boxes from the United States.

    PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa presented before the press in Camp Crame Wilford Palma, a member of the alleged gun smuggling syndicate caught by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

    De la Rosa said the US Department of Homeland Security had alerted the Bureau of Customs on the alleged smugglers. Customs passed on the information to the PNP, he said.

    Palma said his superior’s “No. 1 client” ordered 100 upper receiving parts, 40 barrels and 30 bolt assemblies that could make 100 M-16 rifles.

    “My boss said our No. 1 customer plans to order lower-end gun parts and use them to assassinate President Duterte,” Palma said during the new conference.

    Palma admitted he would not have reported the assassination plot to the police if they were not arrested.

    De la Rosa clarified that the buyer of the gun parts was not suspected of being part of the plot to assassinate the President, but was only asked to purchase the firearms.

    The CIDG director, Chief Supt. Roel Obusan, said they would check on Palma’s claims, but might consider making him a witness.

    Palma’s boss is Bryan Ta-ala, who is confined in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Bacolod City due to hypertension.

    The CIDG confiscated from Ta-ala and Palma P4.5-million worth of smuggled gun parts from the US at Villa Cristina Subdivision in Brgy. Tangub, Bacolod City on August 6.

    Seized by the police from the suspects was a balikbayan box containing the following: Trigger Housing Group, 35 pieces (pcs.); Buffer Spring Lock, 15 pcs.; barrels, 10 pcs.; rail without barrel, 1 pc.; rail and barrel with one suppressor, one unit; black Butt Assembly, 10 pcs.; gray Butt Assembly, 5 pcs.; Buffer Spring Guide, 15 pcs.; Quick Detach Scope Mount, 5 pcs.; Upper Receiver (M4 carbine), 60 pcs.; and Beverage Entry Tool, 2 pcs.
    It was unclear if these gun parts would be used in the supposed assassination plot.

    Obusan said the suspects used fictitious names and false documents in claiming the shipments.

    The CIDG director said the items were then sold to gun enthusiasts across the country through a website and online community called Pinoy Pistol Forum. The gun parts were shipped to customers using local courier services.

    Palma said previous deliveries from the US were sent through Atlas Shippers International Inc. It delivered 104 major component parts for 5.56-caliber rifles, 298 minor component parts, accessories and bullet proof vests, he said.

    These were delivered on different occasions to 129 personalities and one company across the country, he added.
    Palma said that in the two years of their operations, they received 10 balikbayan boxes of gun parts from the US.

    23 people

    A case was filed against Ta-ala and Palma for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

    Palma underwent inquest proceedings before the State Prosecutor’s Office at the Department of Justice in Manila on August 8.

    At least 23 people who reportedly transacted with Ta-ala and Palma, including nine who voluntarily surrendered or appeared before the Major Crimes Investigation Unit of the CIDG, have expressed willingness to cooperate with the investigation, the PNP said.

    The nine who voluntarily surrendered or appeared before the CIDG were Ronald Santos, Ryan Douglas, Charlie Saavedra, Escalante Joe Alian, Edwin Zambas, Maribel Bautista, Larry Paet, Santiago Macariola Inoferio Jr. and Roderick Oliveros.

    Fifteen gun parts composed of seven upper receivers, a butt, a handgrip, two magazine assemblies, and four bolt assemblies were surrendered to the CIDG.

    Inoferio said he surrendered the barrel he had bought from Ta-ala upon learning from the CIDG that the gun part was smuggled.

    Duterte unfazed

    In Malacañang, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said President Duterte was unfazed by the alleged assassination plot.

    Abella said such threats were “not new” to the President. “The President seems to be pretty much untouched by all these threats. Not worried. Concerned but not worried,” Abella said a press conference.

    “He eats threats for breakfast. Meaning to say, it is not something new to him. He said it again and again that he puts his honor, his life, his presidency on the line. It is a very heroic stand,” he added.

    Despite the threat, Duterte will not limit his provincial trips, Abella said.

    “He really understands that there is a call to war on several fronts already: war on drugs, war on terrorism, and war on crime. He is engaged in several fronts and he is really aware that his life is constantly under threat,” he said.

    Duterte earlier claimed that high-profile drug lords have raised as much as P1 billion to have him killed, along with the police chief, de la Rosa, and other officials.


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    1. With all due respect to my president. To my fellow Filipinos for god goodness sake my president is doing his part as we knew it, as reported.

      The only thing we can say is our prayers, hail to the prisident. Mga sir at mga ma’am tayo may ginagawa ba? ♿. We always look and ask none the less for d government but did we ask our self of our contribution to the effort of our government as part of it.

    2. faye Casaberde on

      Kung gumagawa ka ng tama ipapatay ka nila dahil sagabal sa pagpapayaman nila., kung lampa ang presedente tuwang tuwa sila dahil malaya silang gawin ang nais nilang paghassik ng lagim…. Prayers for the presedent! God will proctect you!!! We’re proud of having you as a President… Hindi po nasayang ang boto namin.

      • Our National Hero is Jose Rizal. The pen is mightier than the sword. Strength comes in many ways. It does not come by instilling fear in those who depend on you to lead, that is false power. True power comes when you have the repect and reverence of your countrymen because you respect them as well. Human rights and respect walk hand in hand. Hopefully our President will learn through the mistakes of others.

    3. I would like to congratulate Pres. Duterte. Do not underestimate fellow Filipinos. Yes, we vote with our hearts and that is because we want change. Safer streets, higher minimum wage, minimal corruption, affordable and accessible health care etc. Be reminded though we still uphold moral principle and right now it is obvious our eyes are not closed. We still believe a president exists who respects human rights, abides by the law, speaks courteously of his countrymen especially those who placed him in office, understands the importance of foreign diplomacy, and strives for peace and order without fear. Are you sure we are at war? Be careful with fear, it breeds hate and rebellion. Eat threats for breakfast? What about bullets? Also, about the previous comment, when the President goes to another country, it is not that country’s responsibility to protect the President per se. Each country has its own policy on such matters. It is our government’s responsibility to make sure the President is properly secured. Meaning if extra men are needed to pay for protection, well we as taxpayers are going to have to pay for it because the President is in danger of being killed by his own countrymen.

    4. The parts seized does not make any sense. Have a closer look. It does not look like a duck, it does not quack like a duck, therefore it is not a duck.

      “100 upper receiving parts, 40 barrels and 30 bolt assemblies that could make 100 M-16 rifles.”

      The upper receivers contain the barrels, and the lower receivers contains the bolt assembly. How can you make 100 rifles with 100 upper receivers with ONLY 40 barrels and ONLY 30 bolt assemblies ? You should also have 100 lower receivers. IT DOES NOT ADD UP. Besides there are M-16s available locally. This shipment is purely about smuggling M-16s into RP and the perpetrators got caught and decided to embellish the narrative.

    5. Ignacio Balbutin on

      This threat to the life of the President will always be there because he has created many enemies in his fight against drugs, crimes corruption and terrorism. All the filipinos should pray for the safety of the President. We are a christian nation and we know God so let us entrust our President to God’s care. The President should also tightened his security wherever he goes especially when he visits other countries. If these criminals cannot get him in the Philippines they will surely find a way to get him in other countries. The countries that he will visit should be informed that he is on a assasination plot so that those countries will also double his security. The embassies should say to it that the President is safe wherever he goes