MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Police found 330,000 live rounds from an M16 rifle in a warehouse in Maguindanao province, along with firearms and marked vehicles, as authorities continued their search for illegal arms, authorities said on Saturday.
Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman, said the 330 boxes of ammunition were found hidden inside a military truck parked inside the warehouse reportedly owned by Andal Ampatuan Sr.
The warehouse was situated near the provincial jail in Shariff Kabunsuan.
Apart from the thousands of ammunition, authorities also recovered during the raid several vehicles including a military humvee vehicle and an improvised armored vehicle.
In a phone interview, Chief Superintendent Felicismo Khu, Task Force Alpha Commander, said the 3 p.m. raid led to the discovery of a police vehicle, two local government vehicles, and two armored vehicles.
A further search at the back of the warehouse led to the discovery of three M16 rifles and three Bandoleers, Cabangbang said.
Khu said these firearms were found concealed inside a bag buried on the ground.
The raid was conducted after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared martial law in the province following the November 23 massacre of at least 57 people, mostly women and journalists in what has been considered an election-related incident.
The victims were relatives and supporters of Buluan vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, who has been reported to be eyeing the Maguindanao gubernatorial post in 2010 with political rival, Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., son of Andal Sr., incumbent governor.
Tagged as suspects in the massacre were members of the influential Ampatuan clan, five of who have been arrested, including Andal Jr.