PNP nabs ex-mayor, village chief, 3 others for guns, illegal drugs

MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has arrested a former mayor of Arayat, Pampanga, an incumbent barangay chair, and three others for illegal possession of guns and illegal drugs.

The five suspects were arrested by combined elements of the Pampanga Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), PNP Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), and the Arayat police during the serving of a search warrant on Wednesday in Alonzo Subdivision, Barangay Cacutod, Arayat, Pampanga.

In his report to CIDG chief Director Roel Obusan, CIDG Region 3 regional chief Senior Supt. Edwin Quilates said that prior to the serving of the search warrant, the suspect identified as former Arayat Mayor Luis Espino refused to open his gate and turned-off his compound lights.

The former mayor assaulted the police operatives by firing his firearm, wounding PO2 Robert Ron Fernandez in his right leg and hitting SPO1 Joy Venturillo in his vest.

This prompted an hour firefight between the former mayor and his alleged Private Armed Group (PAG) and police authorities.

The alleged PAG was later identified as incumbent Barangay Cacutod Chair Rosendo Dizon, Cesar Peralta, Romy Mallari and Rosauro Dillera, Jr.

Seized from the suspects were three hand grenades, two rifle grenades, a caliber 5.56, three caliber .45 pistols, caliber 9MM pistol, magazines for different calibers, assorted ammunition, 19 sachets of suspected shabu weighing about 50 grams amounting to PHP450,000 and drug paraphernalia.

The wounded police officer was brought to the Arayat Public Hospital and later transferred to JBL Hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga.

Quilates said that Espino is the leader, while Dizon and the three others are members of the “Espino Criminal Gang” allegedly involved in robbery hold-up, contract killing, gun running and illegal drugs trade activities in Pampanga.

Cases of violations of Republic Act No. 10591, or the “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act”, RA No. 9165, or the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002”, RA No. 9516 or the “Illegal Possession of Explosives”, two counts of frustrated murder and direct assault were filed against the five suspects.