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Cop, another suspect held in forest ranger slay

SAN JOSE CITY – Two other suspects including an active police officer were nabbed allegedly in relation to last week’s gun-slaying of forest ranger Ronaldo Corpuz of the Department of Environment and Natural Resouces in Nueva Ecija.

This brings to three the number of suspects already nabbed in the Corpuz’s killing.

Also arrested earlier was Eugene Cayabyab, 46, of Bgy. Calaocan, Rizal, who turned out to be one of three men who were arrested for illegal logging charges in Bgy. Portal, Rizal on Oct. 22 or three days before the shooting of Corpuz, 43, at his house at Zone 6, Bgy. Villa Joson on Oct. 25.

Lt. Col. Heryl Bruno, city police head, identified the arrested policeman as Corporal Harold Culala, 41, assigned with the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company based at Bgy. San Juan, this city while the other suspect was identified as Ariel Andrade, alias Amber, 30, of Sitio Masiway, Bgy. Sampalok, Pantabangan.

Andrade, who was nabbed during hot pursuit operations conducted in Bgy. Fatima, Pantabangan on Oct. 31 at 11:30 p.m., however, was killed inside the police station about an hour after his arrest at 12:35 a.m. yesterday.

Bruno said Andrade was shot and killed by a backup operative after he allegedly grabbed the gun of the duty investigator and tried to shoot him. The incident occurred while the suspect was about to be brought for a routine medical examination by the police, said Bruno.

Prior to Andrade’s arrest, next to fall was Corporal Culala, who was nabbed in Bgy. Villarica, Pantabangan at 6 p.m. He yielded a Colt Cal. 45 pistol with two magazines loaded with nine bullets.

Bruno said their arrests were carried out after conducting continuous follow-up and hot pursuit operations with the Rizal police and the Pantabangan municipal police station against the suspects.

It was learned that the arrests were made a few days before the slain DENR ranger will be laid to his final resting place on November 3.

Nueva Ecija DENR-PENRO chief Joselito Blanco yesterday said: “Yun ang pulis na may-ari ng sasakyan na nahuli nila Ronaldo at inaarbor sa kaniya na pagbigyan at huwag silang hulihin,” referring to arrested suspect Culala.