THE government yesterday condemned the New People’s Army for its role in an attack on a police patrol in Borongan, Eastern Samar which killed a cop and a 69-year-old woman and wounded 12 other civilians and four officers on Friday afternoon.
“The loss of life and the violence experienced by the victims are reprehensible,” Presidential Communications secretary and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Communications chief Martin Andanar said in a statement.
“We can only imagine the grief of their loved ones who would have spent the Christmas season with them in good health, had it not been for the senseless act of these terrorists. Our thoughts go out to all of you in this difficult time,” he added.
The Philippine National Police also joined the entire nation in condemning the NPA assault.
“The Philippine National Police joins the entire Filipino civil society in strongest condemnation of the latest blatant act of un-Christian terror by the communist CPP-NPA against women, children and peace officers in Borongan, Eastern Samar,” said PNP spokesman, Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the deceased while we assure care for the wounded. We express our gratitude to the nameless private citizens who rushed to the aid of the victims unmindful of their own safety from the internationally-outlawed landmines laid by the terrorists,” he added.
According to Banac, PNP Officer-in-Charge, Lieutenant General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa has ordered the Police Regional Office 8 headed by Brigadier Gen. Ferdinand O. Divina to join hands with the Army in pursuing the bandits at all cost.
We will not let this pass without any action that will bring to account all those behind this despicable act against the people. The full might of the law will take its course. This only shows the insincerity of the CPP-NPA to give peace a chance,” Banac said.
A PRO8 report said the attack took place in Barangay Libuton in Borongan City 3 p.m. Friday. Killed in the ambush were Patrolman Mark Jerome Rama while wounded were Patrolmen Angelito Loterte, Rick Capoquian Jr., Rey Sobrepenia and Kevin Operario.
Operario was seriously wounded in the attack while Loterte was shot in his left leg, Capoquian in the right eye and Sobrepenia in the head.
Two other policemen identified as Patrolmen Christian Godino and Michael Frank Pajanustan were unharmed during the ambush.
On the other hand, 69-year-old Agripena Traboco was killed while 12 other civilians were wounded. The injured civilians were identified as Jacob Chicano, 35; Marrian Esposa, 20; Carlito Esposa, 65; Mark Cantos,18; Florence Traboco, 39; her son John Rey, 6; and 1-year old daughter Jenalyn; Anthony Balayanto, 50; Mary Grace Rapada, 44; Francis Radan, 13; Ma. Lilisania Obina, 34; and Hector Obina, 35.
An investigation showed that the policemen were on board a PNP patrol vehicle with plate no. SJZ-958 where they hit a suspected landmine planted by the rebels along the road. After the explosion, the rebels who were hiding in the bushes raked the policemen with automatic gunfire.
The wounded policemen and civilians were wounded during the NPA attack and were taken to local hospitals for treatment while the bodies of the slain cop and Traboco were brought to the mortuary of the Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital.