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HPG agent, ex-PMA cadet killed in Cavite shootout

A HEAVILY ex-Philippine Military Academy cadet and a Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) were killed in a shootout that occirred 1 p.m. Friday in Cavite City, PNP-HPG director, Brigadier General Alexander C. Tagum said yesterday.

Killed in the clash along Manila-Cavite Road in Barangay 8, Pulo 3, Cavite City were Chief Master Sergeant Julius Arcalas, of the Cavite Provincial Highway Patrol Team, and suspect Methusael Cebrian Cambia, said to be a dismissed member of Philippine Military Academy Class 2007.

Wounded were Captain Eduardo Joy Guadamor, Staff Sgt. Emerson Domingo and a civilian identified as Eduardo Magbana who was hit by stray bullets said to have been fired by Cebrian who was armed with a caliber 5.56 Bushmaster assault rifle.

“We are grieving the death of one of our brave officers who was killed in the line of duty,” said Tagum as he ordered all appropriate honors and necessary assistance given to the family of the late Arcalas as well as the two wounded HPG men. The wounded civilian was also hospitalized.

Regional Highway Patrol Unit 4-A chief, Lieutenant Colonel Samson Belmonte, said his men were conducting an anti-carnapping operation in the area when they spotted the suspects on board a silver gray Nissan Terra without plate number.

When flagged down, the driver of the suspicious vehicle and his companion identified themselves as members of the Philippine Navy.

Belmonte said that Domingo peeped thru the car window and saw a pixelized Navy uniform hanging at the passenger seat too.

However, when the driver was asked to produce the vehicle’s registration papers and his driver’s license, the 2nd passenger who was armed with an automatic rifle alighted from the vehicle and fired at the HPG operatives prompting the officers to retaliate.

Arcalas was hit in the body during the exchange of gunfire and died while being taken to the Cavite Medical Center.

Despite being wounded, Guadamor and Domingo managed to shoot the gunman dead prompting his companion to flee towards the direction of Noveleta municipality.

The driver who turned out to be a Navy ‘striker’ or utility personnel at the Navy headquarters in Sangley Point in Cavite City named Raymund Zuñiga,35, a resident of Bugallon, Pangasinan later surrendered to the HPG Special Operations Division-Task Force Limbas headed by Lt. Col. Joel Manuel Ana. He is facing appropriate criminal charges while the record of the Nissan Sentra is being verified by the PNP-HPG with the help of the Land Transportation Office.

According to Belmonte, a record check showed Cebrian also turned out to be the driver of a wagon who became the subject of a viral video during a nationwide gun ban enforcement in 2016 after he brandished his loaded pistol in the heat of his confrontation with a female driver in Cavite.

The video showed the man pulling out his weapon after a group of local residents came to the woman’s rescue. The suspect who also berated the person taking his video was eventually arrested by the local police.

The suspect who is said to be the husband of a Navy officer was charged with violation of the Omnibus Election Code, grave threat and violation of Republic Act 7610 or violence against women and children. There was no immediate report on what happened to the criminal charges filed against the suspect.