POLICEMEN pursuing heavily-armed New People’s Army guerrillas who abducted and summarily executed two barangay officials in Aroroy, Masbate on Tuesday morning encountered the leftist gunmen in Baleno municipality killing one of the suspects, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Debold M. Sinas said yesterday.
Sinas said a member of the PNP Special Action Force’s 9th Special Action Battalion and the Masbate Provincial Police Mobile Force Company encountered about 15 members of the NPA band led by a certain ‘Ka Jesmar’ in Barangay Eastern Capsay, Baleno at 5 a.m. Wednesday killing the still unidentified gunman.
“Pursuit operations will continue without let-up against these criminals who murdered the two public servants in the barangay,” said Sinas.
Recovered during the clash in Bgy. Capsay were an M-16 automatic rifle, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) components, remittance receipts, suspected NPA documents, P15,000 in cash and several medical supplies.
Thirty minutes later, operatives from the 5th Regional Mobile Force Battalion and the Masbate PMFC engaged another group of NPA guerrillas in Sitio Revil, Bgy. Bat-ongan in Mandaon.
No casualty was reported on both sides although police found an M-16 rifle while scouring the position of the rebels.
Police Regional Office 5 director, Brigadier Gen. Bartolome R. Bustamante said another suspected NPA rebel was captured during a much earlier operation triggered by the killing of the two village officials.
The victims were abducted by some 30 NPA guerrillas led by one ‘Ka Kris’ and a certain ‘Ka Star’ in Bgy. Cabas-an, Aroroy Tuesday morning.
The rebels later executed two of their captives triggering a massive police-military operation to get the killers.
Sinas said that police and military units, backed by the Philippine Coast Guard have established land and sea blockades in Aroroy and Baleno, two coastal towns of Masbate leading to Masbate City to intercept the guerrillas.
Checkpoints were also put up by troops from the Masbate Police Provincial Mobile Force Company and the Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion along the national road connecting Aroroy and Baleno as part of their pursuit operation. The Coast Guard deployed four patrol crafts to help in the operation to prevent the escape of the gunmen by land and sea, Sinas added.
Sinas said village chief Aniano Capinig, a former NPA rebel who surrendered to the government, escaped from their captors and is now in a safe location and being secured by the local police.
However, barangay kagawad’ Victorino Piorado and ‘tanod’ Arnel Refanan were hogtied and brought by the gerrillas to a hilly portion of Bgy. Cabas-an where they eventually executed the two following the escape of Capinig.
“This is a crime, and under no circumstances shall the PNP allow any violations of law and atrocities by the CPP-NPA who threaten the lives of ordinary and innocent people who could not defend themselves. With support and cooperation from the community, the police commits itself to bring the victims alive back to their families”, Sinas said.
The PNP chief led his men in expressing their deepest sympathies to the families of Piorado and Retanan as he vowed to ensure justice for the victims.