Pursuit underway for abductors of 5 cops in Davao City
Joint forces of police and military are conducting hot pursuit operations against the suspects in the abduction of five policemen responding to a government militia detachment believed to be attacked by communist rebels in Paquibato district in Davao City.
The Philippine National Police condemned the incident but declined to confirm whether it was the members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the communist wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), who staged the attack over the weekend.
Spokesperson Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said Davao Regional Police head Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan has ordered round-the-clock checkpoint operations by all concerned police units to restrict the movement of the suspects.
“As we speak, our military counterparts from the 84IB, 68IB & 60IB of 10ID PA are conducting hot pursuit operations in their area of operation, while adjacent PRO 10 & 13 were informed and alerted for possible assistance and augmentation,” Mayor said.
Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the NPA Regional Operations Command, said the NPA has admitted taking the five policemen as prisoners.
While the PNP declined to disclose the names of the victims, the NPA identified the abducted officers as: Police Chief Inspector Leonardo Tarungoy, PO3 Rosenie Cabuenas, PO3 Rudolph Pacete, PO2 Neil Arellano, and PO3 Abdul Azis Ali. The NPA listed the badge numbers of the cops.
On Saturday morning, around 60 heavily armed members of the First Pulang Bagani Battalion raided the 72nd Infantry Battalion CAA detachment in Sitio Quimanao, Barangay (village) Salapawan. After a firefight which lasted for less than an hour, another group of NPA rebels took the five cops.
The NPA seized nine rifles, eight M14 rifles, 78 clips of garand ammunition, 30 fully loaded M14 magazines and other military hardware. They also seized two 9 mm pistols and one .45 caliber pistol from the policemen.
“The POWs (prisoners of war) will be held in custody pending an investigation for possible war crimes and other crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement,” Sanchez said.
For PNP’s part, Mayor assured the relatives of the victims that the “PNP will exhaust all possible means to bring them back.”
Mayor also reminded all PNP personnel to observe personal security measures to avoid falling into the trap of the rebels.
“Even as efforts are being exerted to ensure the safe release of these kidnapped policemen, our primary concern is the safety of the community,” Mayor added. JE
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