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PIA Press Release
2007/05/07

Cop's presence of mind foils armed men’s attack at PNP Paranas HQ

Tacloban City (May 7) -- Presence of mind of Police Officer 1 Leandro Abaigar thwarted the attack of more than 50 armed men at the PNP Paranas Headquarters before 7:00 o’clock in the evening of May 5.

PO1 Abaigar said that he was left guarding the main building of the Paranas PNP headquarters while Police Chief Emmanuel Arteche was in the annex building cooking dinner. The other policemen on duty, Abaigar said went home to take their dinner as their houses are close to the PNP headquarters.

In a phone patch with PIA, PO1 Abaigar said that he was alerted when he saw two van for hire vans in convoy. At first, he thought that there was an accident and that the two vans will report it. But from the window of the headquarters, he saw that those who alighted from the vans were too many and they were armed too.

He said, it was good that he had with him his M-16 rifle. There were so many of them because aside from the two vans which parked infront of the headquarters, there was another white van which parked at the corner. Also, there were armed men walking and joining the armed men.

To make the story short, Abaigar said that a firefight ensued lasting for about 40 minutes. And to make matters worse, there was brown out. When he ran out of ammunition, he decided to play dead by pulling down a table over him.

It seems that the armed men were not prepared for brown out because they had no flash light. They however ransacked the building and were able to get Abaigar’s M-16 and another two M-16 from the armory which belonged to the other two police on duty who were out for dinner.

The armed men also got some things and the police uniforms hanged at the headquarters but these were recovered in the two vans which were left at the crime scene as the armed men left in haste using the van parked at the corner of the police compound.

Based on the presence of much blood seen at the vans and at the waiting center in front of the headquarters, and based on the account of the people living nearby, many of the armed men were wounded seriously.

Abaigar said that he although he could not see Police Chief Arteche from where he was, he knew that he was also fighting with the armed men because there were too many of them.

PNP Director Eliseo dela Paz and the SOCO immediately went to the crime seen, 8th ID Information Officer Captain Mario Jose Chico, who was there together with them, informed PIA.

Paranas (formerly Wright) is a third class municipality in the province of Samar is politically subdivided into 44 barangays. It has a population of 27, 926 people based on the 2000 census, in 5,200 households. Paranas, host to the Paranas Community Based Forest Management, part of Ulot Watershed, which is the third largest among the eleven watershed areas within the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP). The SINP is situated in 37 municipalities and one city across the three Samar Island provinces. The forests of Samar Island, despite suffering from commercial logging in past decades, still holds the distinction of having relatively large – about 360,000 hectares – unfragmented tract of lowland tropical rainforest. (PIA 8) [top]

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