Latest Stories

Rebels attack 95 cops on morning jog; 1 dead

By , Vincent Cabreza Desire Caluza and Nikko Dizon

A police officer was killed and nine others were wounded when communist rebels attacked a group of 95 policemen who were out on a routine morning jog in Tadian, Mountain Province, on Friday.

The communist New People’s Army’s Leonardo Pacsi command in the province claimed responsibility for the ambush in Sitio Kabunagan, Barangay Poblacion, Tadian, which occurred a little before 6 a.m. Friday.

The victims were part of a group of 120 police officers, 70 of them women, who were undergoing training, according to officials at Camp Dangwa, the Cordillera police headquarters.

They were members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Public Safety  Battalion (RPSB), except one who was from the Benguet Police Provincial Office.

A statement from the PNP Cordillera office said there were 95 PNP Scout trainees and four assistant instructors jogging in Barangay Kabunagan in Tadian town at around 5:45 a.m. when the attack happened.

Early reports said the rebels had taken hostages. A statement from the office of Vice President Jejomar Binay claimed that 24 policemen were missing, but the PNP clarified that everyone in the group of policemen trainees were accounted for.

Magno Udyaw, the Leonardo Pacsi command spokesperson, said in a statement that the rebels had “released a number of captured PNP combatants after they treated the wounded.”

The PNP said the policemen were all unarmed when the rebels attacked, killing police officer Denver Balabag and wounding nine others.

But Udyaw insisted that the policemen were armed, and that the rebels had “seized 14 high-powered rifles.”


‘Shocking and senseless’

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who has supervisory control over the police force, called the attack “shocking and senseless since it was carried out without any provocation.”

Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong, PNP regional director in the Cordillera, denounced the “inhumane and desperate action” of the communist rebels, as “even our unarmed personnel are being targeted.”

In the statement, Udyaw said the NPA carried out the “swift attack” against the troops of the RPSB while they were “on bivouac toward Barangay Abatan in Bauko, Mountain Province.”


Why rebels attacked

Udyaw said the NPA had targeted the group because “these policemen composed one of the numerous batches of the RPSB who had been trained in counterinsurgency and urban warfare tactics since last year.”

He said some members of the special PNP unit that was ambushed in April in Asipulo, Ifugao, were “trainees in Tadian who were mobilized jointly with the Army’s 86th Infantry Battalion to conduct massive counterinsurgency combat operations in the towns of Tinoc and Asipulo in Ifugao.”

Last April 5, a patrol unit was ambushed in Sitio Nangkatengay, Barangay Namal, Asipulo, where a police inspector and two policemen were killed.

On May 27, police officers of Cagayan’s Special Action Force en route to Allacapan town for a medical checkup, set off a rebel landmine, killing eight of them and injuring seven others.

According to Senior Supt. Ruben Theodore Sindac, the chief of the PNP Public Information Office, Army troopers have already joined the police in counteroffensive operations against the NPA.

Sindac said the police officer victims were on a 45-day training program that exposed them to counterinsurgency actions of the military in the area.

“This is a sad incident indeed and it only shows that the NPA tactics do not distinguish combatants and noncombatants. It’s as if they just shoot for the sake of shooting or to satisfy their own end without regard for the military value of a target,” Sindac said.

He said communist insurgents have attacked medical missions, civic action activities, as well as civilians.

Sindac said the NPA command in northern Luzon “may be driving home a point or sending a message to the government” when they attacked the unarmed policemen.

Asked if there could have been a lapse in police intelligence, Sindac said it could be a “possibility” which the PNP would investigate.

He said that training exercises are not necessarily conducted only inside police camps.

“The organization will not be held hostage to this senseless threat or killing by the enemy,” Sindac said.

Pursuit operations

Police led by Senior Supt. William Viteno, Mountain Province police provincial director, are now pursuing the insurgents who carried out the attack.

Sindac said PNP units within Mountain Province and neighboring municipalities of Benguet province were now also on alert.

Magalong has directed all units in the Cordillera region to “take all necessary security precautions especially when moving in a group.”

Binay said the PNP should intensify its pursuit operations and conduct an immediate probe into the incident.

“I strongly condemn this treacherous attack. The victims were unarmed and based on the report I got, were doing their regular morning jog. Whoever was behind this should be brought to justice,” he said.

The wounded were Senior Insp. Meliinium Bantas, and police officers Jasmine Salve, Alexander Dulnuan, Junete Ngalawen, Jefferson Sari, Mitchell Malubon, Pawas Daketan, Robin Benito and Edison Waguis. Except for Waguis, who has been moved to Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, all the wounded are being treated at Luis Hora Hospital in Bauko.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Camp Dangwa , communist rebels , Mountain Province , New People's Army , Tadian

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • 14 killed in car bombing in Homs
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Marketplace