One of the residents identified the leader of the group as Cafgu Erwin Calixto, assigned to the Army’s 72nd Infantry Battalion, whose base is in Barangay Gubatan in Magpet.
The raiders, according to Barangay Councilor Teodorico Marquez, carted three firearms: his .22 caliber long barrel gun; a homemade pistol owned by Andres Dacomos; and the 12-gauge shotgun of Rogelio Apostol.
The firearms, according to Marquez, were issued to them by the barangay. The local command of the National Police issued the memorandum receipt (MR) of these firearms, the gun holders said.
The raiders also took pairs of combat military shoes owned by Rogel Bisled, also a resident of Barangay Marbel.
Calixto, in an interview, admitted it was his group that raided the village at 7:00 am, and stressed it was a “legitimate” operation. He said the order had come from his commander whom he identified as Army Corporal Sonny Meode of the 75th IB.
Villagers said that the soldiers who raided the houses told them that they were searching firearms that belong to them but were purportedly stolen by the residents.
But village chair Allan Pandio, dismissed as “baloney” the soldiers’ claim. “How can the residents in my village rob their firearms when the detachment is heavily guarded? If there was indeed a robbery, it might be an inside job,” he said.
He said the search was illegal as soldiers “failed to present to villagers any warrant”.
Pandio said affected villagers will file charges of illegal search against Calixto and his men. (MindaNews)