The young Pinated was among the eight policemen killed after the vehicle they were riding was hit by a landmine set off by communist rebels in Allacapan town in Cagayan on Monday. Seven other policemen were wounded.
Evelyn said her son and 14 other policemen assigned to the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) unit were on their way to the Allacapan police station for a routine medical checkup and physical fitness test. Many of them were wearing T-shirts and shorts, not police uniforms.
In Manila, Director Carmelo Valmoria, SAF commander, ordered Tuesday the immediate relief of two police officials pending the result of the investigation of their possible administrative liability over the incident.
“Their administrative relief is part of our ongoing investigation into this NPA attack,” Valmoria told reporters in a mobile phone interview.
Sacked were Senior Inspector Ronnie Albino, chief of the 24th Special Action Company of the SAF, and Supt. Nestor Lobos, commander of SAF’s 2nd Special Action Battalion. Albino was the direct superior of the 15-member SAF unit.
On regular patrol
Valmoria said the policemen had been regularly patroling the area where the attack took place since they were deployed in Allapacan from Abra province in January.
Cagayan’s top police official said he had received information about an ambush try before Pinated and his group left for the police station at Allacapan town proper.
Pinated drove the SAF’s Isuzu Elf that was stopped by the road explosion. A barrage of gunfire from the attackers followed the blast.
The policemen defended themselves, but eight of them were killed: Pinated, PO3 Vladimir Tabajero, PO2 Dexter Cubilla, PO1 Erick Brioso, PO2 Angelbert Mateo, PO1 Jerome Sanchez, PO2 Jonnel Bowat and PO2 Ronald Castulo, who died while being transferred to Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City.
Those who suffered shrapnel wounds and are being treated in several hospitals were PO2 Ronald Gomez, PO1 Ephraim Dolete, PO2 Geopano Adangui, PO1 Ryan Asunio, PO2 Ricky Monay, PO2 Jeofrey Liagao Amiligan and PO2 Jeofrey Elasco.
Insp. Cesar Orlanes, Cagayan police spokesman, said he received a report from Dr. Nicasio Galano Jr. of Ballesteros District Hospital that they had the mangled body of a PO2 Joefrey Dalwidaw, making him the 16th member of the group. But the Inquirer could not confirm the report.
“Days before the incident, we had been receiving intelligence information on the movements of the (communist insurgents) and their reported plan to stage an ambush, which we kept forwarding to our units in the field either by telephone calls or radio and text messages,” said Senior Supt. Gregorio Lim.
As to why the police team still fell victim to Monday’s ambush, Lim replied: “That is what we are still trying to assess. It is still too early for anyone to speculate.”
The Cagayan police said they were readying multiple murder and frustrated murder charges against leaders and members of the NPA’s Danilo Ben Command for the attack. The NPA group has yet to confirm its participation in the attack.
“The (communist rebels) must stop these senseless killings. They are killing those who are serving our people,” Evelyn told reporters here. Her son, Elmark, married his girlfriend, Grace, on Oct. 8 last year.
Evelyn said she last talked to her son over his mobile phone on May 20, her birthday, when Pinated greeted her.