A GUNBATTLE between a group of heavily-armed men and policemen in Libertad, Misamis Oriental around 8:20 p.m. Monday resulted in the killing of an officer and one of the suspects, Police Regional Office 10 director, Brigadier General Rolando B. Anduyan told People’s Tonight.
The official said that their investigation showed that members of the Libertad Muncipal Police Station were conducting an anti-crime checkpoint along the national highway in Poblacion, Libertad when the suspects who were on board a white Mitsubishi Mirage suddenly fired at them.
The ensuing firefight resulted in the wounding of Chief Master Sergeant Fernando Maestrado and Staff Sgt. Ronald Caayupan and one of the suspects who was identified as Jephone Tinamisan, a 33-year-old resident of Purok 5, Bañadero, Ozamis City.
Anduyan said that SSgt. Caayupan died while being taken to the nearby Initao Hospital. The other policeman was referred to another hospital for further treatment.
The Northern Mindanao police director said that recovered at the scene of the encounter were four caliber .45 pistols, two KG-9 machine pistols, one 9mm pistol and four hand grenades. Five small heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected shabu were also found inside the pocket of the slain suspect.
Anduyan said that one suspect who was identified as Richard Son Perez, 31, a resident of Bangkal, Mahayhay, Cebu City who was found to be staying in Barra Opol, Misamis Oriental was arrested in a hot pursuit operation around 6:50 a.m. yesterday and is now undergoing questioning. The rest of the suspects are still being tracked down as of press time, he said.
“In police operations, there is no perfect execution and the danger is always there to our personnel, that is why there was an incident like this. But the command will always remind them to be always vigilant and security conscious,” he said.
Anduyan extended the entire PRO10’s sympathies to the bereaved family of SSgt. Caayupan and assured them of their full support. The slain policeman will also be given a hero’s burial.
He also said that he is personally monitoring the progress of the hot pursuit operation and asked local residents to immediately report to the nearest police station the presence of any of the fleeing suspects.