And the weapons were going to . . . Islamic radicals. From Reuters, with thanks to Nicolei:
Philippine police and soldiers have seized explosives and firearms from a man who said he planned to deliver the weapons to a buyer in a Muslim neighbourhood of the capital.
The arrest comes amid heightened security ahead of national elections on May 10 and an investigation into claims, scorned by the government, that the Abu Sayyaf group of Muslim rebels was responsible for a deadly fire on a Manila ferry a week ago.
Security forces arrested the 43-year-old mechanic after raiding his house in a farming town north of the capital and finding 17 Vietnam War-era Claymore anti-personnel mines, two pounds (one kilogram) of C4 explosives, grenades, rifles, handguns and ammunition.
The man was presented to reporters after his arrest and said he was supposed to deliver the weapons to a buyer called “Khalid” in a Muslim part of Manila’s Quiapo district.
Islamic militants set off a series of bombs in Manila in December 2000. The southern Philippines is home to four rebel groups seeking a separate Islamic state and is also widely suspected of being a training ground for the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah militant group.
Police also seized a van with a false floor during the raid in Talavera town, near an army base where Philippine and U.S. troops are conducting annual joint training exercises.
“It appeared the man is only involved in illegal gun trade,” Avelino Razon, the national police operations chief, told Reuters. “There’s no conclusive information that he is a bomber or is trying to assemble a car bomb.”
An army spokesman said the mechanic has been under surveillance since October after a tip-off from neighbours.