By Jorge Hallare
LEGAZPI CITY --- The president of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) in Ragay, Camarines Sur was arrested on Saturday morning for illegal possession of assorted firearms, according to a belated report that reached the Police Regional Office (PRO) in Bicol here Monday morning.
Senior Inspector Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, spokesperson of PRO5 based in Camp Simeon Ola here, identified the suspect as Petronillo G. Mercado, barangay chairman of Lohong in Ragay town.
She said Mercado is also ex-officio municipal councilor representing ABC in the Sanguniang Bayan of Ragay.
Mercado was found in possession of an M16 armalite rifle, a sub-machine gun, a .45-caliber pistol, and live ammunition during the search conducted in his house at 6:20 a.m., Calubaquib reported.
She said Mercado was subject of surveillance operations in the past weeks by intelligence operatives after villagers tipped him off regarding his cache of firearms.
A combined team from the Provincial Police Offices of both Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte; Del Gallego and Ragay Municipal Police Offices -- both in the Province of Camarines Sur; and the Criminal Investigation Division Group (CIDG) in Camarines Sur conducted the joint search operation by virtue of a search warrant issued by Judge Cecilia Borja-Soler of the Regional Trial Court Branch 29 based in Libmanan, Camarines Sur.
Mercado is now in the custody of CIDG-Camarines Sur.