- An alleged assassination attempt on President Duterte was thwarted by police
- Two men were arrested early last month for smuggling gun parts from the US
- The smuggled firearms were reportedly ordered by someone who wants Duterte assassinated
MANILA, Philippines – Authorities have reportedly thwarted an alleged assassination attempt on President Rodrigo Duterte following the arrest of two men involved in the smuggling of gun parts supposedly to be used in the hit job.
The suspects were nabbed early last month at the Atlas, Villa Cristina Subdivision in Brgy. Tangub in Bacolod City from a tip-off by an intelligence report from the United States where the gun parts were purchased and sent in balikbayan boxes.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa presented one of the suspects, Wilford Palma, on Thursday at Camp Crame.
Dela Rosa said Palma admitted that the smuggled firearms amounting to P4.5-M are to be used “to assassinate President Duterte”. The suspect also identified his boss as a certain Bryan Ta-ala who is currently confined at a hospital in Bacolod and is currently under police custody.
“Ang sabi sa akin ng boss ko, ‘yung number one customer namin may balak umorder ng lower end gun parts at gagamitin sa assassination ni President Duterte,” said Palma.
[My boss told me that our number one customer is planning to order lower end gun parts which will be used in the assassination of President Duterte.]
The smuggled goods allegedly arrived before Duterte was elected president. The suspects were nabbed on August 6 by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), the police said.
The PNP chief believes the two men are not personally involved in the said assassination attempt, but only in the smuggling of gun parts delivered from US via Atlas Shippers International Incorporated in several shipments.
Palma said their customer ordered 100 upper receiving parts, 40 barrel, and 30 bolt assembly; enough to make 100 M16 rifles.
Dela Rosa declined to give the name of the customer who ordered the shipment while investigation is still going on.
Meanwhile, Ta-ala, Palma and his other cohort had been charged for violation of RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
More than 20 other individuals who reportedly transacted with Palma voluntarily surrendered to authorities and are now facing inquest.