POLICE Regional Office 2 director Brigadier General Jose Mario M. Espino has conferred the posthumous Philippine National Police Medalya ng Kadakilaan or PNP Heroism Medal to Police Staff Sergeant Richard D. Gumarang, the Isabela policeman who was killed in a gunbattle with four fleeing robbers in Ramon municipality on Friday last week.
The medal was received by Gumarang’s widow Michelle during ceremonies that highlighted the bravery and heroism of Gumarang, the latest police officer who had offered his life in the line of duty.
PNP chief General Oscar D. Albayalde also paid tribute to the slain policeman as he offered his deepest sympathies to the cop’s family.
“The PNP leadership assures the families and kin of the fallen hero cop of the financial support and social benefits due to police personnel who offered the supreme sacrifice in line of duty. On behalf of a grateful nation, the PNP high command extends condolences to the bereaved family of PSSg Richard Gumarang,” Albayalde said.
Gumarang was cited for bravery and heroism, above and beyond the call of duty, when he engaged two robbery suspects in a gunbattle in Turod Bugallon Norte, Ramon, Isabela last September 20.
In addition to the posthumous award, surviving kin of Gumarang will receive death benefits which include P250,000 from the President’s Social Fund; between P141,000 up to P181,000 as Special Financial Assistance from the PNP; burial benefits worth P50,000 ; and P200,000 gratuity from the National Police Commission.
PNP members of the Public Safety Mutual Benefit Fund are also entitled to death insurance depending on rank.
These death benefits are on top of the estimated P15,000 monthly lifetime pension from the PNP and roughly the same amount of pension for five years from the Napolcom, said PNP spokesman Brigadier General Bernard M Banac.
Espino said Gumarang was one of the officers who intercepted the thieves who fled to Isabela province after staging a daring heist in Tuguegarao City last Friday.
The suspects immediately opened fire after being cornered and hit the cop.
“We have lost a brave policeman in the war against criminality,” said Espino as he visited the wake of the fallen cop and offered his deepest sympathies to the Gumarang family and gave some initial financial assistance.
In a report to Albayalde, the PRO2 director said one of the suspects identified as Cristobal Cristobal alias “Cris” was killed on the spot during the encounter in Barangay Turod Bugallon Norte in Ramon municipality around 4 p.m. on Friday, three-and-a-half hours after the suspects staged a robbery at the Cathedral Compound Centro 6 in Tuguegarao City and escaped towards the direction of Isabela province on board a red heavily-tinted Toyota Innova with the improvised plate no. YU 0778.
The official said members of the Ramon Municipal police led by Captain Abdel Asiz Maximo and the Isabela 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company encountered the armed suspects.
A second suspect, who was earlier identified as Edmar de Castro but later turned out to be one Alden Francis Regundique, 33, of P2C3, Lot 1, Kaalinsabay Road in Karangalan, Villa Manggahan, Pasig City, was also shot during the encounter and died while undergoing treatment at the Santiago Medical Center.
The third suspect who initially identified himself as “Jayson Saringan” was found to be a resident of Bgy. Baknono in Bayambang, Pangasinan whose real name is Alfred de Vera Solis.
A fourth still unidentified suspect is still being hunted.
Espino said his men recovered the suspect’s getaway vehicle with the attached temporary plate no. YU 0778 but with the Land Transportation Office Conduction Sticker YV 6688. Found inside the wagon were one M-16 Armalite rifle with serial no. 973985, a .45 Colt Mark IV semi-automatic pistol with serial no. 953724, different identification cards and three mobile phones.
Police also impounded a red Honda TMX motorcycle without plate number belonging to the suspects who apparently thought that their target was carrying a huge amount of money.
Espino joined the Isabela Police Provincial Office headed by Colonel Mariano C. Rodriguez in mourning the death of Gumarang, who was described as a good family man and a cop who has been performing outstanding service to the public.
The arrested suspect is now being held at the Ramon municipal police station and criminal charges for robbery-holdup, violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013, assault upon an agent of a person in authority and murder will be filed against him and the escaped suspect.
Prior to the firefight, the PRO2 chief said he ordered a dragnet for the suspects who held up Lorena Carag, a 45-year-old secretary of the RPF Construction, inside the Cathedral Compound in Centro 6, Tuguegarao City around 12:30 p.m. on Friday.