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Former soldier arrested over unlicensed firearm

An ex-soldier was arrested in a police operation along Ferido Street, Barangay Mankilam, Tagum City at 10:40 p.m. on Sunday.

Brig. Gen. Marcelo C. Morales, regional police director, identified the suspect as Edwin Mercado, a former member of the Philippine Army, and a resident of Purok Dalia, Barangay Visayan Village, Tagum City.

Mercado was caught during Oplan Kapkap (frisking) along restaurants and pubs operating in the area. The suspect yielded a Norinco .45 caliber pistol with serial number BA10382, along with one magazine loaded with eight bullets.

The suspect also could not show pertinent documents for the gun.

In Oplan Kapkap, police officers will enter an establishment unannounced and conduct a search. Customers will be frisked and searched for guns and other contrabands.

“The police can only request – and not force – anyone/guests to open their bags so the police may see if they are carrying guns or deadly weapons. Again, the customer is not forced to do anything. However, anyone who hesitates to heed the request can give the impression that a contraband is being concealed,” Morales said.

The suspect and the firearm are now in the custody of Tagum City Police Station. He will be facing a charge for violating RA 10591 or Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

“We will be more vigilant and more steadfast in our law enforcement operations to prevent lawless elements from disrupting the peace and order situation in our region,” Morales said.

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