The Philippine National Police (PNP) seized 59 types of illegally manufactured firearms and ammunitions in Lipa City, Batangas after serving a search warrant against the suspect reportedly operating a gunrunning syndicate in different parts of the country.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, PNP chief Ronald de la Rosa disclosed that the suspect, identified as Romel Litan, has been selling a total of 671 self-manufactured firearms since December 2015.
The suspect, according to de la Rosa, admitted that the recovered firearms were distributed in Marawi City.
“These guns [according to the suspect]were really recovered in Marawi City, he admitted that it all came from him, he painted it, he put colors [on the firearms],” the PNP chief told reporters in Camp Crame.
“As for now, the suspect has a record, he was already able to sell [firearms]. He sold 671 firearms with the likes of these as of December 2015…he has a record and he did not denied it. Some even landed in Marawi City [and]were recovered in the middle of the war there,” he added.
The operation against Litan was led by the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO) after a search warrant was issued by the regional trial court in San Pablo City, Laguna for violating Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act.
The CIDG implemented the warrant on July 1 at 8:30 a.m., leading to the confiscation of the firearms and ammunitions in Purok 2, Barangay Sampaguita, Lipa City in Batangas.
Three others were also arrested during the operations and were identified as Angelo Magcamit, Ramil Quinones and Christian Rey Quinones and were all referred to the Department of Justice for appropriate legal action.
Chief Supt. Roel Obusan, chief of the PNP CIDG, said Litan presented himself to sellers as a gunsmith selling assembled and refurbished 5.56 M16 rifles and short firearms.
“However, because of the record book we obtained…we got leads if how many were sent in Marawi City, how many were acquired by politicians, police and military men. We have to identify where are these being sent and if we want to connect with rebellion. we have no evidence for that,” Obusan added.
He also said that the FEO confirmed that Litan did not have a license to manufacture, repair, gunsmithing or even operate firearms.
“I want to point out that [Litan] has two jobs, refurbishing or repair and assembling [firearms]so he could manufacture. So the gist of the manufacturing is the spikes and tactical guns,” Obusan said, adding that the suspect is also imitating guns manufactured abroad which would cost P100,000 or even from P140 to P150,000.
De la Rosa, however, said that the seized firearms originated from the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City and were all seen before from photos bearing those seized by the military.
“If you will look at the color, the brand it’s all the same. Some have same brands. It has the same color, gun design that we recovered [from Marawi City],” de la Rosa said.
The confiscated firearms will be moved to the PNP Crime Laboratory for cross matching and records checking will be facilitated within the FEO to determine previous owners of the guns.
“It will be determined if these are previously registered firearms or loose firearms, we will find that out with the investigation we are conducting,” Obusan said.