CAGAYAN DE ORO - Lawyer Elly Pamatong, the self-styled leader of the "United States of America Freedom Fighters of the East" (USAFFE), is facing new criminal charges.
The police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Region 10 on Monday filed charges against Pamatong after authorities raided his group's camp last week in Barangay Tablon, Cagayan de Oro City. The raid yielded a caliber .45 pistol with bullets and two fragmentation grenades.
Four cases were filed against Pamatong, including violation of Republic Act 9516 on illegal possession of explosives, violation of Republic Act 10591 on illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, violation of Republic Act 8491 or an Act Prescribing the Code of National Flag after raising an inverted Philippine flag in his camp, and violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code or usurpation of authority or official functions when Pamatong declared himself as the president of the Philippines.
PO3 Noel Oclarit of CIDG 10 said they are on the lookout for Pamatong, who they believe is in hiding.
"We are intensifying our monitoring for us to locate Pamatong. So that once the arrest warrant for him will come out we can implement it easily and we can serve him his warrant of arrest," Oclarit said.
In a video clip posted on social media, Pamatong denied that he owns the firearms and explosives recovered by authorities. He accused them of "planting" the evidence.
Authorities, however, said they have enough witnesses to prove their allegations. Police said Pamatong has the right to prove his innocence in court.