Cops still up for peace with Reds, despite police station attack, abduction
MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) continues to support the incoming administration’s plans for peace talks with communist rebels, despite a recent attack on a municipal police station in Davao Oriental believed perpetrated by the New People’s Army.
In a press briefing on Tuesday at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, the PNP spokesperson, Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, condemned the gun attack Sunday night on the Governor Generoso police station, during which the town police chief, Chief Insp. Arnold Ongachen, was abducted, and at least left one policeman was wounded.
“We condemn the attack on our station. It’s a government institution that provides security and safety to our communities, and yet they could do that,” Mayor lamented. “We demand the release of the chief of police who was abducted,” he added.
The police has not officially confirmed it was the NPA behind the attack, only referring to the perpetrators as “lawless armed groups” while pursuit operations with the armed forces have been ongoing.
But assuming the attack was indeed perpetrated by the NPA, Mayor expressed beliefs the incident “will not be an obstacle” to the “policy direction of the President-elect with regard to the peace process.”
“As responders risking our lives on the front lines, we want peace the most,” the spokesperson said. “This kind of situation will not be an obstacle; instead, the more we will pursue the peace process,” Mayor said.
“The President-elect is initiating a peace process, and that’s the priority,” Mayor said.
Mayor clarified, however, that the attack in Davao Oriental was a “violation of the law,” and that, as yet, cases against the perpetrators would have to be filed as the insurgents committed several criminal violations—physical injury, destruction of government property, and serious illegal detention, among others.
Meanwhile, amid reports the police had run out of ammunition and had been outgunned and outnumbered in the hours-long gun battle, Mayor said an investigation into operational lapses would be conducted after pursuit and rescue operations.
“We will have an investigation to look into any flaws to correct them, or to punish those who need to be punished,” he said. “In the first place, that shouldn’t have happened,” Mayor said. SFM
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