High-powered weapons seized in Makati City, Philippines

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MANILA, Philippines, Nov 18, (Agencies): Government anti-terrorism operatives confiscated a cache of firearms following the apprehension of a 56-year-old man caught transporting loose weapons in an operation in Makati City. Police Maj Gen Jose Melencio Nartatez, director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), has initiated a thorough investigation into the activities of the suspect, Juanito Tanghal, particularly examining potential links to terror groups or criminal syndicates.

“An ongoing investigation is being conducted to verify if those firearms were used in terroristic activities, gun-for-hire, and other illegal activities,” stated Nartatez, emphasizing the need to scrutinize the volume of confiscated loose firearms.

The operation on Nov 16 in Barangay Olympia, Makati City, was based on intelligence reports indicating the transport of high-powered firearms. Tanghal was apprehended in the act of transporting the weapons, which included over 13 guns such as assault rifles, a machine gun, carbines, and two handguns.

Nartatez revealed that Tanghal’s arrest was a result of a November 14 operation in Angeles City, Pampanga, where Santiago Fernandez was apprehended, and an assault rifle with a mounted 40mm M203 grenade launcher was confiscated.

Despite Tanghal’s attempt to escape during the operation, Nartatez assured the public of the NCRPO’s continuous campaign against loose firearms. He urged vigilance and encouraged prompt reporting of information related to illegal firearms for immediate action.

The delay in the promotion of over 100 senior officers was attributed to issues raised in the National Police Commission (Napolcom). Interior Secretary and Napolcom Chairman Benhur Abalos clarified that the promotion delay was influenced by the restructuring of the Philippine National Police (PNP) under Republic Act 8551. The Napolcom is mandated to prepare and submit a proposed PNP reorganization plan to Congress, which, despite submissions in 1998, 2008, 2009, and 2011, were not approved.

Another complication in the promotion process was the rank distribution in the reorganization plan, questioned by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in contrast to the actual distribution.

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