By Camcer Ordonez Imam
Cagayan de Oro City – Several firearms were seized in simultaneous raids inside the houses of a trader and an alleged gunrunner in Zone 5, Barangay Bonbon and in Barangay Pagatpat, here, Friday, by the Martial Law-Special Action Group (ML-SAG).
Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s Fourth Infantry Division, said the raiding team confiscated two long firearms, M4 and AK47 rifles, and five assorted handguns, including calibers .45 and .38 pistols, inside the residence of Jameloding Tago.
Tago is residing in a compound with his family and his brother, Jabar. The compound has a warehouse containing bundles of used clothing, which is his brothers’ business.
Jabar was not around during the raid.
The ML-SAG is composed of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-10 (CIDG-10), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-10 (PDEA-10), Task Force Oro, and other units from the military.
The raiding team was authorized to go through the houses on the strength of search warrants issued by a local judge, for violation of RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Chief Insp. Noel Oclarit, CIDG-10 chief investigator, said the ML-SAG brought Tago, his wife, and a relative to the CIDG-10 headquarters in Barangay Patag, for questioning.
According to the search warrant, authorities have reason to believe that Tago has in his possession various firearms.
Martinez said Tago surrendered two .45 caliber pistols kept at the Jabar Marketing, aside from those taken inside his house.
Tago also presented permits for the seized and surrendered firearms but Martinez said “these (papers) are still subject for verification.”
Lawyer Anthony Ponce de Leon, Tagos’ legal counsel, said his clients were taken by surprise of the raid.
“Nagulatl ang sila, alam naman nila na licensed yung guns nila (They were surprised although they know their guns are licensed,” he said.
De Leon said the firearms were for his clients’ protection as one of them entered politics in Lanao del Norte and for their business, as well.
When asked what is the legal action of the Tagos, he said his clients will go through the procedures. “We will see what they (authorities) will file.”
As far as he knows, de Leon said all of the firearms are licensed.
The raiding team also recovered three handguns and a long firearm inside the house of Jalaludin Bacaraman Lao at Mindanao Homes in Pagatpat.
Lao was not around but the ML-SAG invited his wife to answer queries. His wife failed to submit gun permits to the ML-SAG.
Martinez said Lao is an alleged gunrunner who is suspected to have provided lawless elements with weapons.