November 30, 2023

Reserved ‘Army colonel’ arrested for indiscriminate firing, guns’ possession

By Justine Rich Talusan

POLICE on Sunday arrested an alleged reserved Philippine Army “colonel” for charges of indiscriminate firing and possession of several high-powered firearms in Nagcarlan, Laguna.

In a report to Police Regional Office 4-A director Brig. Gen. Jose Melencio C. Nartatez Jr., Laguna Police Provincial Office director Col. Randy Glenn G. Silvio identified the accused as Vicente Conejos, 35, of no. 8 San Vicente Ferrer in Bgy. San Antonio, Parañaque City.

The suspect was arrested 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Bgy. Tipacan in Nagcarlan municipality following complaint that gunshots were heard in the area.

Officers who rushed to the site saw a number of vehicles parked along the road. Occupants of the vehicles identified themselves as members of the Philippine Wildlife Sentinel based in Camp Lawin, Biñan City who are undergoing a jungle survival training under the supervision of Conejos.

When accosted by members of the Nagcarlan Municipal Police Station, the suspect yielded three M-16 automatic rifles, two M-16 airsoft rifles, one 12-gauge shotgun, eight loaded M-16 magazines, 21 pieces of various live ammunition, two handheld radios, four military vests, an ammunition bandolier, and two pieces of Army Reservist uniform.

 Nagcarlan police chief Maj. Marlon Calonge  said that the accused failed to present documents pertaining to the ownership of the confiscated high-powered rifles during initial questioning.

However, he said that the suspect claimed that they went to the area to conduct a “search-and-rescue” training.

Silvio said Conejos and his group were not authorized to conduct any live firing in the area.

“The sound of the gunfire actually attracted the attention of some local residents who immediately informed the local police of the situation,”  Silvio said.

 The official said that the suspect claimed he works as an administrative staff of the Parañaque City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The suspect also yielded an identification card from a group calling itself as Philippine Coastal River Guards Agroupation Unified Command based in Biñan City. The ID shows the accused wearing a uniform of a “Colonel.”

The arrested suspect is facing criminal charges for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013.