LEGAZPI CITY, Sept. 7 (PNA) —- Police have stepped up the inspection of all baggages of passengers at the terminal port area in Masbate City after discovering 20 pieces of .45-caliber pistols inside the bag of a 59-year-old man suspected to be a member of a gunrunning syndicate on Wednesday morning (Sept. 7), said a report reaching the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5) here.
Senior Supt.Jerry F. Bearis, acting police chief of the Masbate Provincial Police Office (PPO), who identified the suspect as Celso Brigoli, 59, said the guns were found during the mandatory inspection of baggages done by the police at the terminal entrance area of the port in Barangay Bapor, Masbate City.
"We are still investigating if Brigoli belongs to an organized criminal group engaged in gun smuggling and as to where the firearms were supposed to be delivered," said Bearis.
He said Brigoli had listed his home address as Barangay Candinayla Poblacion, Borbon town in Cebu.
Investigation showed each of the 20 pieces of .45-caliber pistols were neatly wrapped with a plastic packing tape and tucked inside three small boxes placed inside the bag carried by the suspect.
The .45-cal. guns consisted of five pieces Colt; two pieces Springfield; five pieces para cal.; four pieces Remington; and one piece each of the pistols with brand names Sti, Armscor, Kimber and Caspian.
Bearis said Brigoli had failed to present any document to the authorities for the transport of the firearms whose point of destination is Nueva Ecija.
Brigoli is now facing a case for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act.
Bearies said the seizure of the cache of firearms resulted from the intensified security work and vigilance of the Masbate police.
He cited the “police’s relentless intelligence gathering and the help of the civilians who gave the information” that led to the suspect’s arrest.
Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, PRO5 regional director, lauded the Masbate PPO and the Masbate City Police Office for a job well done after the seizure of the firearms.
He ordered a thorough investigation of the suspect because the firearms could be intended not only for gun smuggling but may be used for a terrorism activity.
Buenafe reminded all his men to intensify their checkpoints and conduct police patrols in strategic areas. He added police security operations should be “maximized” in areas where most people converge.
He especially mentioned Naga City in Camarines Sur, that will celebrate the Peñafrancia Festival from September 9 to 18, where millions of local and foreign devotees are expected to converge.
Buenafe asked the public to provide vital information should they know of any plan of lawless elements to spread criminality and commit acts of terrorism. (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/CBD