Sol­diers warned vs sell­ing guns

Tempo - - News - By GE­NA­LYN D. KA­BIL­ING

The gov­ern­ment has threat­ened to throw sol­diers in jail if found sell­ing firearms to Maute ter­ror­ists and other en­e­mies of the state.

De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana warned about the penal­ties, in­clud­ing dis­charge from ser­vice, after con­firm­ing that one of the sources of firearms of the Maute rebels was from some “un­scrupu­lous” sol­diers.

“Sell­ing is – or mag­bebenta ka ng baril sa labas – is a big of­fense in the mil­i­tary and ma­court mar­tial ‘yan, mabibi­langgo pa. Baba­yaran pa niya ‘yung firearms,” he added.

Loren­zana said when he was still in the mil­i­tary, erring sol­diers who sold firearms to en­e­mies were sub­jected to court mar­tial pro­ceed­ings. “We have iden­ti­fied them and we pun­ished them. We pun­ished those, we dis­charged them, we court- mar­tialed them,” he said.

He said the same penalty ap­plies for sol­diers who could not ad­e­quately ex­plain the loss of their firearms.

A mil­i­tary of­fi­cial earlier re­vealed that many of the firearms re­cov­ered from the ar­eas oc­cu­pied by Maute group were gov­ern­ment-is­sued weapons. Capt. Jo-ann Pet­inglay, spokesman of the Task Force Marawi, re­port­edly said some­body from the gov­ern­ment must have sold the weapons to the en­e­mies.

As of Septem­ber 14, the gov­ern­ment has re­cov­ered 692 firearms from the ter­ror groups in Marawi City.

Loren­zana agreed that the Maute rebels could have ob­tained gov­ern­ment weapons through ac­qui­si­tion, theft, and even smug­gling.

“(There are) many ways that the Mautes ac­quired th­ese firearms from the gov­ern­ment,” he said.

“They pro­cure from un­scrupu­lous sol­diers. Marami rin na nag­bebenta kasi niyan eh na mga sun­dalo noon. Ewan ko ngayon kung ano pa ‘yan, kung preva­lent pa ‘yan,” he said.

Loren­zana said the Maute rebels have also stolen gov­ern­ment firearms and even com­bat dur­ing their clashes with sol­diers.

The mil­i­tary ar­mory are also some­times ran­sacked by law­less el­e­ments “some­times with the con­nivance of our sol­diers,” the de­fense chief added.

“And also, they have been smug­gling in from the out­side through the south­ern back­door, ‘yung mga gal­ing diyan sa labas na firearms sup­ported by the for­eign ter­ror­ist groups,” he said.

He said dur­ing the Mar­cos regime, the gov­ern­ment also pro­vided many weapons to some groups to help in its se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions.

“Marami tay­ong naibi­gay sa kani­lang baril na hindi na natin na-re­cover,” he said.

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