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Pastor, kagawad linked to Reds nabbed over gun charges

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Government forces arrested a pastor and a barangay kagawad with alleged links to communist rebels during raids against illegal firearms in Bohol early Friday, police reported.

Arrested were Nathaniel Vallente, a pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) based in Mabini town; and Carmilo Tabada, kagawad of Barangay Poblacion in Trinidad, according to reports from the Central Visayas regional police.

Tabada leads the so-called “Tabada criminal group” involved in gunrunning in Bohol, of which Vallente is a known member, the reports said.

Both men are also “active supporters” of the communist movement’s Bohol Party Committee, police said.

Members of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Bohol Field Unit, backed by other police units and the Philippine Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion, first served a search warrant against Tabada in Brgy. Poblacion, Trinidad, around 1:40 a.m.

The warrant, issued only last Monday by a court in Talibon, was for violation of Section 28 (unlawful acquisition or possession of firearms) under the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition, police said.

Around 2:30 a.m., operatives served another search warrant for a similar violation against Vallente, in Purok 5 of Brgy. San Jose, Mabini.

The warrant against Vallente was issued by a court in Tagbilaran City only on Thursday, police said.

Four caliber-.45 pistols, four magazines, five rounds of live cal-.45 ammunition, some empty shells, a fragmentation hand grenade, and various “subversive documents” were confiscated at the site in Brgy. San Jose, according to police.

Tabada and Vallente are currently being held at the police stations of Trinidad and Mabini, before they are turned over to the courts.

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