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PIA Press Release

PNP tags SPARU hit men in killing of Catarman police on Sept 13

Tacloban City (September 14) -- The Philippine National Police in Northern Samar tagged the Special Partisan Unit (SPARU) of the NPA in the September 13 killing of a police officer of the Catarman Police station.

Police Senior Superintendent Brigido Basio Unay, in an interview with the Philippine Information Agency, disclosed that the result of the initial investigations leans towards the SPARU as the assailants.

The victim PO3 Geronimo Tan has no personal enemies, the Northern Samar Provincial Police Director said. His being an Intelligence Operative of the Catarman Police Station is the nearest reason why the victim was killed, he added.

Col. Unay said that PO3 Tan was already off duty that morning. He was going back to the Catarman Police Station because he had an appointment with someone who wanted to turn in a gun owned by one of the 8 policemen who were ambushed on August 23. It was learned that PO3 Tan was originally from Pambujan, Northern Samar but currently resides at University of Eastern Philippines area.

It would be recalled that the day after the ambush of the 8 Catarman policemen, four youngsters aged 14 to 25 were shot at by unidentified gun men while on their way home after watching a concert at UEP.

The initial report submitted by Colonel Unay to the PNP regional office stated that at 9:30 in the morning of September 13, 2010, along the National Highway, Tagibian Bridge at Barangay Bangkerohan in Catarman, Samar, one PO3 Geronimo Tan was shot by suspected SPARU hit men wearing helmet, fatigue polo shirt and short pants riding in tandem on a red Suzuki motorcycle.

The victim was shot five times by short firearms but he was able to maneuver his motorcycle going to Petron Gas Station at the said place and there he was shot again twice which resulted to his instantaneous death. Luckily, the four youngsters were only wounded.

Suspects identified themselves as members of Philippine Army after which they fled going to the direction of Catarman proper, the initial report stated.

With the Northern Samar Provincial Police Director orchestrating the operations, the elements of the Catarman Police Station conducted hot pursuit operations against the fleeing assailants while the elements of the Northern Samar Provincial Public Safety Company immediately conducted checkpoints in all entry and exit points of the Catarman area. Nearby police stations were likewise directed to conduct similar police operation for the possible arrest of the suspects.

The initial report added that the chief of police of Catarman was ordered relieved by the PNP Regional Office. He was replaced by Northern Samar Asst. Provincial Director Carlo Centenaje, in a concurrent capacity. (PIA 8) [top]

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