Brothers in arms: Mayor, VM arrested for illegal possession of guns, grenade
The Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) on Thursday arrested a mayor and vice mayor after several firearms and a grenade were found in their ancestral house at Barangay Poblacion, San Francisco town on the island of Camotes.
Capt. Alejandro Batobalonos, chief of the PIB, said the operatives confiscated a fragmentation grenade, caliber .22 rifle, AR-15 assault rifle, and a caliber .45 pistol, from Mayor Aly Arquillano and his brother, Vice Mayor Alejandro “Al” Arquillano Jr.
Aly and Alejandro are seeking to switch posts in the May 13 elections. Both are running under the local party, Bagong Alyansa sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya (Bakud).
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here said the two are still considered candidates despite their arrest.
Batobalonos said the police operatives were armed with a warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 60 Judge Leopoldo Cañete in searching the house of the Arquillano brothers.
He said the firearms were found inside the bedrooms of the mayor and the vice mayor.
“All firearms nga atong na-recover pulos unlicensed. Kanang iyang .22 rifle expired na ang license ana since 2010 (All firearms that we recovered are unlicensed. The caliber .22 rifle has a license that expired in 2010),” Batobalonos said.
The police earlier advised the Arquillanos to process the renewal of licenses of their firearms or surrender these to the nearest police station as part of the Philippine National Police’s program “Oplan Katok”.
However, the brothers who are holding the top positions in their town, failed to surrender their unlicensed firearms to the local police station.
Batobalonos said they received reports that the Arquillanos have private armed goons operating in their town in time for the election next month.
He, however, said they did not receive reports about any violent acts by the two officials.
Mayor Aquillano told the media he has license to possess firearms, but could not ascertain if these were renewed through the Firearms, Explosives, Security Agency and Guards Supervision (FESSAGS) in Central Visayas.
Batobalonos said they will file charges against the mayor and vice mayor for violation of Republic Act 10591, the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act of 2013.
The brothers may not be allowed to post bail because the operatives seized a hand grenade from their possession, he said. (PNA)