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PIA Press Release
2007/04/04

Police officer killed, 6 others wounded in suspected NPA attacks in Masbate

Legazpi City (4 April) -- A police officer was killed and six others were wounded, including an eight-year-old boy, in three target attacks in Masbate province believed staged by members of the new People’s Army (NPA).

Sketchy reports reaching the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5) at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola here, said a team of Special Action Force (S) elements was ambushed by rebels in Sitio Kabuluan, Barangay Luy-a in Aroroy town at 10:15 a.m on Tuesday, April 3.

Three hours earlier, members of the SAF’s 11th Special Action Company clashed with heavily-armed rebels in Barangay Lahong, also in Aroroy town.

Police Chief Sup’t Ricardo T. Padilla, PRO5 regional director, said a boy, identified as Lining, was hit in the crossfire and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Padilla said an M-79 grenade launcher, three M-16 automatic rifles and several NPA documents were recovered at the scene.

Meanwhile, a band of NPA rebels also stormed the Filminera Mining Corp, in Barangay Puro, also in Aroroy.

The rebels disarmed the company guards and burned the administrative building and several heavy equipment.

The attacks came as PNP Director-General Oscar C. Calderon ordered the deployment of a company of Special Action Force commandos to Masbate to stop partisan armed groups involved in election-related violent incidents in the province.

Calderon ordered “all necessary force and equipment against the guerrillas” as he also directed National Task Force HOPE (Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections) commander PNP Deputy Director- General Antonio P. Billones to oversee the implementation of security measures in Masbate, including the installation of the new provincial director and the deployment of the SAF troops.

Billones led the installation of Police Senior Supt. Edgar Layon as the new Masbate provincial police director vice Police Senior Supt. Teordoro Caparroso who was relieved for failure to curb the rising number of election-related violent incidents in the province.

Earlier on Sunday, April 1 a mayoral candidate in Placer town in Masbate survived an ambush try but two of his security men were killed and another one was wounded in the attack that took place at Sitio Bugtong Cawayan, Bgy. Cabangcalan, where the group were reportedly on a campaign trail.

The police regional office in Bicol identified Freddie “Boyoy” Quidato as the mayoralty candidate of Placer town who escaped unhurt the attack staged by about 20 still unidentified armed men. Quidato’s security aide Nonoy Duan and Toto Juanico died of gunshot wounds in various parts of their body while Titing Bedrijo was injured.

The group of Quidato was negotiating a road on board their service motorcycles when fired upon by armed men already pre-positioned at the ambush site.

Last March 25, Mayor Lene Artachi Arcenas of San Jacinto town, also in Masbate escaped an ambush but one of her security men was killed and three others were injured.

Police probers are still determining the motive of the ambush and identities of the attackers, but it did not discount the possibility that the attack was politically motivated as political rivalries had been intense since the start of the mid-term national and local election that started last March 30, this year.

Additional policemen from the Regional Mobile Group (RMG) were sent to beef up the PMG forces in the area, including a Philippine Army helicopter gunship to conduct combat operation against the communist rebels. (CT Amo/MS Arguelles, PIA) [top]

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