TAGUM CITY, Philippines—Three alleged robbers, including the leader of their gang, were killed in shootouts with police in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, authorities said Wednesday.
Six pistols, a shotgun, a hand grenade, dozens of rounds of ammunition and two motorcycles allegedly used is robberies were recovered following the first shootout in the village of Bobongon on Tuesday, according to Senior Superintendent Edgardo Wycoco, Davao del Norte police chief.
The operation against members of the Pichengco group, allegedly one of Southern Mindanao’s most notorious criminal gangs, was carried out by officers of the Davao City police intelligence section under Superintendent Antonio Padua, the Panabo City police led by Superintendent Antonio Alberio and the Sto. Tomas police under Chief Inspector Sherwin Butil, Wycoco said.
“Our policemen were to serve arrest warrants on the group’s members when they were fired upon as they arrived at the suspects’ alleged safe house in the area, forcing the policemen to return fire,” Wycoco said.
Two gunmen, identified as Justine Ambrosio and Rodel Garcia, were killed during the first shootout past 2:30 p.m. while the third suspect, Emoreblair Parcia, was shot dead during a pursuit operation about five hours later, according to Superintendent Mark Young, Davao del Norte police operations chief.
Young said the group, led by Parcia, was involved in a series of robberies in the cities of Panabo and Tagum in Davao del Norte, Davao City and Compostela Valley province. The group’s alleged crimes included the P2-million robbery in Panabo City last week and a botched robbery at a check encashment establishment in Tagum early Wednesday, he said.
“They’re from Maco (in Compostela Valley) and have operated in many areas in [the Davao] region. They’re organized, well-armed,” Young said.
He said at least seven gang members were now being hunted down after they evaded the raiding policemen.
Wycoco said the death of its leader has crippled the gang but the police wanted to make sure its members could not regroup by arresting them.
“We have intensified follow-up operations against the remnants of the gang to finally dismantle it. There are still other members of the group who apparently escaped after the encounters and we’re now pursuing them,” he said.