SOME “misfits” in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are possibly involved in the selling of weapons and ammunition to the enemies of the State like the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a military official said on Tuesday.
“For one, if Director [Jonathan] Martir of the DND [Department of National Defense] Government Arsenal says that they [materiel that may have found their way to the ASG]came from the Armed Forces, we would like to say it is possible. There is a possibility that there are some misfits in the Armed Forces of the Philippines who might be involved in this kind of unscrupulous acts,” Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, said.
Also on Tuesday, Director General Ronald de la Rosa, the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, presented P6 million worth of high-powered firearms allegedly intended for sale to the Abu Sayyaf.
The weapons and ammunition were seized by agents of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group from Unding Kenneth Isa, Hja Risdimona Isa, Aljamer Akarab Mandih and Hurbin Alhi Sahibul during their arrest in Barangay West Crame, San Juan City (Metro Manila) on September 24.
The barangay (village) is a stone’s throw away from Camp Crame, the home of the PNP.
Arevalo said the AFP leadership is seriously looking into the issue as some soldiers had been implicated in illegal
activities in the past and they are facing court martial at present.
He cited the case of one Technical Sgt. Santiago Caasi, who is assigned to the Mechanized Infantry Division in Basilan province, and one Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Ordonio, a non-commissioned officer candidate soldier from the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division in Mindanao.
“We are saying that we are not going to take this lightly, the Armed Forces is very keen, very seriously looking into this because this is not a small offense. This is a big offense against not only our existing laws and Articles of War but a big offense against our members of the AFP that our weapons and ammunition are being sold to civilians and possibly even to the enemies,” Arevalo pointed out.
At present, he said, the AFP is gathering information and investigating reports reaching the AFP leadership that some of its members are involved in nefarious activities.
Arevalo added that the AFP is closely coordinating with the PNP on the matter to identify the source of the arrested gunrunning suspects.
“We are coordinating with our counterparts in the PNP and probably even as we speak, coordination or sharing of notes and information is already ongoing to ferret out the truth,” the AFP official said.