3 killed, 5 nabbed as PNP busts 2 gun-for-hire groups

MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has neutralized two gun-for-hire groups in separate operations in Luzon.

In a press briefing Monday, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said operatives of the San Pablo City Police Station and the Provincial Mobile Force Company of Laguna implemented a search warrant, issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 32 Judge Agripino Morga, at the Alvero Compound in Barangay San Ignacio on Saturday.

The operation resulted in the death of suspect Christopher Alain Alvero and two still unidentified men, when they engaged the raiding team in a shootout.

Arrested for illegal possession of firearms were Antony Castillo, Enrico Eric Suasi, Joy Alvero and Abby Gomez, who are all residents of the compound.

Operatives seized one sniper rifle, automatic shotgun, one M16 assault rifle, six handguns, two grenades, and assorted ammunition for different firearms.

Alvero was ranked eighth on the list of the province’s high value targets and was alleged to be behind the series of contract killings in the city.

He was also known as one of the big-time distributors of illegal drugs in San Pablo City and nearby municipalities.

Meanwhile, the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group arrested five members of the Peralta Group, namely Dennis Matian, Mary Ann Mallari, Raymond Dequina, John Lana and Jackie Lou Isidro in separate operations from October 25 to 29.

The group is engaged in kidnapping and gun-for-hire activities in Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Tarlac, Metro Manila, and Cagayan Valley.

Albayalde identified their leader as Ricardo Peralta, who is the subject of several warrants of arrest for multiple murder, kidnapping, carnapping and highway robbery.

Peralta is a co-accused of former Gapan Mayor Ernesto Natividad for the murder of Ericson and Ebertson Pascual in a Nueva Ecija cockpit in 2006.

Albayalde said Peralta, who is still at large, has been peddling their gun-for-hire services to some politicians.

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) has offered PHP5-million reward for information leading to Peralta’s arrest.

“We have intelligence information that needs to be confirmed and validated. Hindi lang natin basta-basta masabi yung pangalan ng mga pulitiko (We cannot just reveal the names of the politicians), especially with the Peralta group,” Albayalde said when asked if the PNP has named of politicians who had engaged the services of the group.

“We don’t have specifics on their positions. Nakikita natin ang mga (As we see, the) information we gathered are mostly governors, mayors, candidates running for governor, mayor,” he stressed.

AKG operatives also recovered two assault rifles, two handguns, one carbine conversion kit, 22 different ATM and credit cards, four mobile phones, one shotgun, a grenade and two improvised explosive devices, and three Sports Utility Vehicles from the suspects.

Albayalde also said that as a standard investigative procedure, all recovered firearms will be subjected to ballistics examination by the Crime Laboratory and the results will be encoded as inputs into our Integrated Ballistics Information System (IBIS) database for possible cross-matching with evidence gathered in previous cases where similar types of firearms were used.

“These two successful operations, in no small measure, will lessen possible election-related violence in the forthcoming 2019 national elections by neutralizing private armed groups and taking away instruments of violence used for political purposes,” Albayalde told reporters.

Albayalde commended the police officials for the successful of the operations.

“I would like to congratulate the Police Regional Office Calabarzon under Chief Supt. Edward Carranza and the Laguna Police Provincial Office under Senior Supt. Eleazar Matta, and the Anti-Kidnapping Group under Chief Supt. Glenn Dumlao for again showing responsiveness to instructions from the National Headquarters to hit hard against Organized Crime Groups involved in illegal Drugs and Gun-for-Hire activities, including Private Armed Groups and its criminal support systems,” the PNP chief said. PNA-northboundasia.com