Two Paranas PNP members fight it out with 50 NPAs
By Ninfa B Quirante
Catbalogan, Samar (May 7) -- PARANAS residents were jolted from their early evening activities when they heard gunshots: Paranas PNP Headquarters was under attack.
NPAs believed to be numbering 50 on board three L 300 vans rushed to the two PNP buildings and immediately opened fire.
PO 1 Leandro Abaigar who was at the main building retaliated, while Police Inspector Emmanuel Arteche who was then in the adjacent building also returned fire.
Mrs. Tess Tobalado, a teacher from the Wright National high School whose house was located some 50 meters away from the PNP Headquarters said the firefight lasted for about thirty minutes.
Leticia Cabandon who was visiting her brother whose house was just across the building sustained bruises on her knees when she scraped them while trying to drop as the fire fighting became more intense.
Her husband, a candidate for SB in Paranas who was with her, said that the commands he heard were a mixture of Cebuano as in “dugay kayo!”; Estehanon Waray as in “unina, mayday pa!” (Samarnons would have said niyan) and some Tagalog who said, “dyaging (jogging) lang tayo!"
Some of them, Cabandon said, positioned right on their door step. In their haste to scamper for safety they forgot to close their door. Apart from the lady’s scraped knee, their kins inside the house were all unhurt.
Chief Arteche sustained bruises and cuts on his right toe in the process; he also suffered fracture on his left leg. When asked by PIA, he said he did not believe he would live for the rebels were so many. He said he and Abaigar fought it out bravely.
Abaigar’s personal account narrates that his presence of mind pushed him to fight; a lady inmate who was just called Rhea Rose helped him reload his gun. As his ammunition ran out, and the rebels were closing in, he said he played dead under the table and it was when the rebels reportedly carted the three remaining M 16 rifles in their armory.
Meanwhile, Rhea Rose said that a woman-fighter grabbed her and pushed her outside. The same woman, she narrated ordered her to run, she said she resisted for she thought she would be killed if she ran. The captive-inmate got the chance to run to safety when a new command diverted the fighter’s attention. Rhea Rose remained unhurt.
Joseph Canellas, a senior citizen who lives near the municipal hall said that he saw the rebels retreating towards Eagle Park (across the Municipal Building ). He said he saw some that alighted from the van carrying wounded comrades. He said the injury could have been fatal as the bloodstains were enormous from the abandoned vans to the highway which the rebels crossed to retreat.
The PNP building was a total wreck, all glass windows were broken including plastic chairs and the rebels even fired at the only working typewriter the police force had. The typewriter remains useless now, said the remaining PNP personnel who were off duty when the attack was done.
Government troops from the 62nd IB came in after an hour when the rebels had already retreated. The attack came just as Samar is preparing for elections and have just requested an augmentation of PNP elements from the Regional Police Force.
Just on April 27, 2007, Police Senior Superintendent .Arcadio Borres Lelis, Chairman of Task Force HOPE (Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections) vowed to deploy 100 PNP elements to Samar as the province was listed as among the top Area of Immediate Concern in the region due to history of election-related violence in the past elections and the heavy presence of the communist insurgents. (PIA-Samar) [top]