GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Policemen recovered four illegal firearms, including two homemade grenade launchers, in a raid in a village in Sto. Niño town in South Cotabato on Friday.
Chief Supt. Eliseo Tam Rasco, director of Police Regional Office 12 (Soccsksargen), said Saturday the firearms were seized from the house of chainsaw operator Romeo Besiño, 41, in Purok Bonifacio, Barangay San Vicente in Sto. Niño.
Armed with a search warrant, he said intelligence operatives of the Sto. Niño municipal police stormed the suspect's house past 5 a.m.
The warrant, which was issued by Judge Marlo Brasales of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court in Norala town, was for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Rasco said the operating team recovered from the suspect's house two M79 homemade grenade launcher rifles, 12 rounds of 40-mm. ammunition, a homemade 12-gauge shotgun with a magazine loaded with four live bullets, and a Pietro Beretta 9mm. pistol with serial number 1069 with one 15-rounder magazine loaded with 12 bullets.
He said the firearms were all unlicensed while the grenade launchers and shotgun lacked serial numbers.
The operation and the documentation of the seized items were witnessed by an official of Barangay San Vicente and a media worker, he said.
Rasco said the Sto. Niño municipal police had received a tip from an informant that Besiño owns several illegal firearms.
"It was later confirmed through surveillance conducted by our intelligence operatives," he said in a report.
Senior Insp. Sherwin Panaguiton, chief of the Sto. Niño municipal police, said the suspect claimed that he was keeping the firearms to protect himself.
Besiño reportedly carried the firearms during commissioned works in remote and mountainous areas, he said, adding that the suspect would be charged on Monday for violation of Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition. (PNA)