BATANGAS -- Four alleged members of a gun-for-hire group and drug syndicate and two barangay councilors were arrested in separate raids by elements of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine Army and Philippine Air Force in Batangas on Wednesday morning.
In a search warrant issued by Executive Judge Carlos Flores of Malabon Regional Trial Court, joint government operatives swooped down on the house owned by a certain Gerardo Paglinawan alias "Taling”" in Barangay Lumbang at around 6:30 a.m.
NBI agents arrested Paglinawan’s brother , Police Officer 1 Wilfredo Paglinawan, a member of Calaca police, a certain Mark Ruedas and two unidentified men.
Gerardo Paglinawan, who was the subject of the search warrant, managed to escape during the raid.
NBI-Batangas agent Jun Japlit said the suspects allegedly opened fire at the raiding team, triggering a brief gun battle. No one was reported hurt in the incident.
Authorities recovered an Armalite rifle, a .45-caliber pistol, a shot gun, a hand grenade, and an undetermined amount of suspected shabu from the suspects.
Meanwhile, two barangay councilors were also arrested in simultaneous raids by NBI agents in Nasugbu town.
Police identified the arrested suspects as councilors Jie Perno and Etok Limboc of Barangay Papaya in Nasugbu.
Police seized a shotgun from Perno, and a .22-caliber pistol from Limboc.
The NBI raiding team also swooped down on the house of councilors Rene Rabasio, Carpo Gonzales and Guillerma "Lerma" Limboc but no firearms or illegal drugs were recovered from it.
Limboc, a former councilor and a defeated mayoralty candidate in last year’s election, was tagged by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) as an leader of a gun-for-hire group.
Reports reaching PAOCC Chairman Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. said that six bodies had been dug up in Limboc’s property in Calaca and had been positively identified as victims of the gun-for-hire group.
However, the Batangas Police denied the report and said there were no remains found in an alleged mass grave in Barangay Lumbang Na Bata in Calaca reportedly owned by Limboc.
The NBI operation came about a few days after an appeal from the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) to President Benigno Aquino, DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas to step-in and help in resolving the unabated and uresolved cases of killings in Batangas particularly in Nasugbu, Calaca, San Pascual and Bauan towns.