4 cops in NegOr attack ‘tortured’, ‘executed’

POLICE Brigadier General Debold Sinas, director of Police Regional Office (PRO)-7, and Police Colonel Raul Tacaca, director of Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, visit on Friday Sitio Yamot, Barangay Mabato, Ayungon town where four policemen were killed in an attack allegedly staged by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) on Thursday. (Florence Baesa photos)

By: Glazyl Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, director of Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 on Friday said that the four policemen killed in an alleged ambush in Ayungon, Negros Oriental on Thursday were “tortured” and “executed” by suspected New People’s Army (NPA).

Killed were Police Corporal Relebert Beronio, and Patrolmen Raffy Callao, Roel Cabellon, and Marquino De Leon, who were all intelligence operatives and members of the 704 Mobile Force Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB)-7.

Sinas said the slain police officers were supposed to go to the house of a certain “Victoriano Anadon” to probably  verify reports about the alleged presence of NPA in the area when they were allegedly waylaid by about 10 to 15 armed men.

In a press briefing at the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office (Norppo) yesterday, Sinas said the police operatives were disarmed, thus they were not able to engage the armed men.

A scuffle followed as they tried to fight back, but they were overpowered by the suspects’ reinforcement.

Sinas said the policemen were all shot from behind while on their knees.

Based on the autopsy results, the victims suffered rib fractures and scratches. Each of them also sustained a lone gunshot wound on the head which caused their death.

Sinas described the killing as “brutal.”

The armed men allegedly carted away the service firearms and personal belongings of the slain policemen, but their two motorcycles were left at the barangay hall.

Sinas said Anadon is a person of interest and is under investigation to determine if he had any participation in the killing.

“We cannot establish yet if he is a police asset or a contact,” he added.

Sinas said Anadon told the authorities that the armed men asked him to tie the hands of the two policemen, then he was allowed to leave unharmed.

Sinas, who visited the ambush site yesterday, said the attack was reportedly planned and can be considered a “setup” because based on their investigation, the armed men already positioned themselves at the trail where the victims passed by.

They were already identified as law enforcers even before they went to the area, he added.

Sinas said they received the report around 5 p.m. or more than two hours after it happened, but it took a while for the authorities to respond to the area due to security reasons.

Sinas said they already created a task force headed by Police Colonel Raul Tacaca, Norppo director, to focus on the incident and gather more evidence which could lead to the identities of the perpetrators.

“This will not stop us. We will give them justice and we will do it right,” said Sinas, who assured the family of the fallen cops, assistance and support from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

He said the police and Army are now tracking the perpetrators.

On July 13, troops of the 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB) engaged in a clash with suspected NPA at the boundary of Brgy. Carol-an in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental and upper Carol-an in Ayungon town.

It led to the death of a certain “Ka Emjay”, an alleged squad leader of Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) platoon, Central Negros Front.

Meanwhile, Norppo mourned the deaths of their colleagues. The Philippine flag at the headquarters and police stations in the province were flown at half-staff.

The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo) also condemned the attack and expressed sympathy to the bereaved families of the fallen cops.

“We ask the support of the general public in our combat against terrorist groups, these terrorists who have nothing in mind but to create fear among the populace, must heed to the call to stop in this senseless loss of lives which would only result to grief and sorrow”, Police Colonel Romeo Baleros, Nocppo director said.