Cops’ drive vs PAGs nets Masbate’s village chief

THE ongoing campaign against partisan armed groups and loose firearms in Bicol region on Wednesday morning led in the arrest of a barangay captain in Placer, Masbate after he sold several unlicensed firearms and more than 100 rounds of live ammunition to an undercover officer, Police Regional Office 5 director, Brigadier General Arnel B. Escobal said yesterday.

Escobal identified the arrested suspect as Dioscorro Salundangit Sy, a 64-year old chairman of Bgy. Nagarao in Placer, Masbate. He said that the village chief was arrested during a buy-bust operation in nearby Bgy. Daanlungsod at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday which was jointly conducted by members of the PRO5 Regional Intelligence Division, PRO5 Special Operations Group, the Placer Municipal Police Station, the Regional Mobile Force Battalion and the 502nd Maritime Police Station.

Recovered from the suspect’s possession were one caliber 7.62 automatic rifle with nine steel magazines containing 160 bullets, three cal. .45 pistols, four .45 magazines, six .45 live ammunition, a rifle sound suppressor and the boodle money topped by two marked P500 bills.

The arrest of the barangay captain-turned gun trafficker came as Escobal ordered all concerned police units to further boost their campaign against partisan armed groups and loose firearms in their jurisdiction knowing fully well they could be used to disrupt the holding of a peaceful and orderly national and local elections in the region on May 13.

Escobal said that particularly being targeted for neutralization by his men are known PAGs operating in Masbate, Albay and Camarines Sur provinces. In Masbate, two PAGs identified as the Arizabal and Villareal groups are the subject of a police crackdown. In Albay, there is the so-called Concepcion Group while in Camarines Sur, there is the Mabulo Group.

The official said that they are conducting the crackdown with the help of the Armed Forces.
The directive came in the aftermath of a shooting incident at the boundary of Barangay del Rosario and Bgy. Arado in Uson, Masbate around 7:40 a.m. last April 21 involving a group of rivals for the local mayoralty race.