SECURITY forces yesterday pressed their hunt for a group of heavily-armed New People’s Army guerrillas who figured in two separate encounters with government troops in Camarines Sur on Sunday killing two policemen, Police Regional Office 5 director, Brigadier General Arnel B. Escobal said yesterday.
Escobal said that around 2:45 a.m. Sunday, members of the Camarines Sur Police Provincial Office and the Army’s 22nd Infantry Battalion clashed with around 10 NPA rebels in Sitio Lantad in Barangay La Medalla, Tinambac municipality.
After a 5-minute gunbattle, troops led by 2nd Lieutenant Mario Obiedo recovered two M-16 automatic rifles, 12 M-16 magazines, six bandoliers, two improvised blasting caps, three improvised explosive devices, four detonating cords, three Claymore mines, six M-203 live ammunition, two 2-way radio units, three mobile phones, four backpacks containing assorted personal belongings and a medicine kit, a defective binocular and suspected NPA documents at the scene of the clash.
Escobal said the guerrillas were believed to have suffered some casualties and were forced to leave their weapons and other belongings at the scene.
Two hours later, another gunbattle erupted between a group of patrolling policemen and NPA guerrillas in Bato, Camarines Sur resulting in the death of two policemen.
Escobal said that Patrolman Prince Lagdameo and Master Sergeant Sotero Javier were wounded in the clash and were declared dead upon arrival at the Medical Mission Group Hospital in nearby Nabua municipality.
Escobal said the two policemen were among the members of the 2nd Camarines Sur Provincial Mobile Force Company who encountered some 18 NPA rebels in Bgy. Payak in Bato municipality 5 a.m. Sunday.
He said the lawmen led by Captain Clarence Vincent Bacruya were conducting an intelligence-driven operation at the boundary of Balatan and Bato municipalities when they encountered the rebels. The ensuing gunbattle between the two groups lasted for about 20 minutes, he said.
Escobal said the NPA band was believed to have suffered an undetermined number of casualties during the firefight.
He said they are mourning the death of the two policemen, the two latest members of the Bicol police force who have sacrificed their lives in going after Enemies of the State.