BARMM cop chief seeks deeper probe on nabbed gunrunners’ links

By Edwin Fernandez

CAUGHT. Highway patrol unit officers and soldiers conduct data gathering after two suspects (in civilian clothes) were nabbed for possession of high-powered firearms (inset) at a Joint Task Force Kutawato checkpoint on Delta Bridge connecting Cotabato City and Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on June 4, 2021. Police probers are currently digging deeper into the case to determine possible links of the suspects to lawless groups operating in nearby Maguindanao province. (Photo courtesy of PRO-BARMM)

CAMP SK PENDATUN, Maguindanao – The chief of the Police Regional Office – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. in Muslim Mindanao (PRO-BARMM) has ordered a deeper probe on the links of two suspected gunrunners who recently tried to sneak in a pistol and a crew-served machine gun in Cotabato City.

Brig. Gen. Eden Ugale issued the order Monday to police offices of Maguindanao, Cotabato City, and the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) to determine where the firearms – a disassembled .50-caliber machine gun and a .45-caliber pistol – were headed to before they were found in the possession of the suspects.

“I want to know if there exists a connection between the suspects and the armed group operating in Maguindanao,” Ugale said.

On June 4, suspects Mohammidin Sabal Monico, 31, and his nephew Alidatu Abdul Monico, 26; who were arrested with the firearms inside their car at the Delta Bridge checkpoint bordering the city and Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

The police and HPG personnel were supposed to check why the two were not wearing seat belts while onboard their metallic gray Toyota Vios car but found the firearms inside instead.

“When they were flagged down, the driver and the passenger appeared restless, making the police conduct plain view inspection while HPG personnel inspect the car’s registration records,” he said.

He said suspects claimed they are residents of Sitio Talaingid, Barangay Tamontaka Mother in Cotabato City but village officials disowned them saying they have no residents with such names.

Cases of violation of RA 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act) and RA 4136 (Land Transportation and Traffic Code) for non-wearing of seat belts were filed against the suspects.

The duo are detained at Police Station 1 lock-up cell while the car was turned over to Regional Highway Patrol Unit -BARMM for verification and custody. Philippine News Agency

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