Numerous firearms, live ammunition and explosives were recovered on Friday following simultaneous search warrant operations in properties of newly-installed town mayor Jessie Ermitanio in Marcos, Ilocos Norte.
Police Supt. Amador Quiocho, commander of the Ilocos Norte Police Public Safety Command, said at least 16 search warrants were released to locate unlicensed firearms of Ermitanio and other suspected gun-for-hire groups being linked to him.
The team found several of the firearms and ammunition in Ermitanio’s properties in Barangays Lydia, Elizabeth and Cacafean in Marcos town.
Ermitanio, however, insisted all of the firearms were licensed. In an interview, Ermitanio accused the police of planting the recovered items against him.
The former vice mayor took over as the new mayor of Marcos town on June 7 following the murder of mayor Arsenio Agustin on June 3.
Ermitanio is also being implicated in the June 3 killing of Marcos town mayor Agustin after a suspect turned witness Bernie Lazo identified him as the mastermind.
According to Lazo, Agustin and Ermitanio were close allies but when the latter was ambushed last April 4, Ermitanio suspected that it was Agustin who ordered the hit on him.