THE Philippine National Police (PNP) seized a cache of illegally manufactured firearms and ammunition in Lipa City, Batangas from an illegal manufacturer reportedly operating a gunrunning syndicate in the country.
PNP chief Ronald de la Rosa identified the arrested suspects as Romel Litan during a media conference in Camp Crame on Tuesday.
Litan, represented himself as a gunsmith selling assembled and refurbished M16 Armalite rifles and short firearms. In his 22 years of doing the illegal business, he has sold about 671 fake rifles to clients who are politicians, military and police personnel, including criminal groups based in Mindanao and the National Capital Region.
Calabarzon Police regional director, Chief Supt. Mao Aplasca, said Litan also admitted that the recovered firearms were distributed in Marawi City and that some were recovered from Maute group fighters in the ongoing military operations there.
Aplasa said the rifles were transported with the assistance of Litan’s unidentified contacts who are active personnel of the PNP and AFP to Mindanao through the Roll-On-Roll-Off vessel.
The operation against Litan on July 1 was led by the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and Firearms and Explosives Office after a search warrant was issued by the Regional Trial Court in San Pablo City, Laguna for violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act.
Also arrested during the raid were Angelo Magcamit, Ramil Quinones and Christian Rey Quinones who were referred for appropriate legal action to the Department of Justice under Assistant State Prosecutor Jinky Dedumo.
with DEMPSEY REYES