By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office (Nocppo) here raised its alert status from heightened to full alert following the ambush of the New People’s Army (NPA) against some policemen in Binalbagan town over the weekend.
In a virtual press briefing on Tuesday Police Lieutenant Abegael Donasco, Nocppo public information officer, said they do not tolerate the actions of the NPA against the policemen.
“We don’t like anything like that to happen,” Donasco said, thus policemen were reminded to be on guard and to remain vigilant.
Following the incident, Donasco said that all police officers were directed to verify any report or information first before responding.
“Hindi natin alam kung anong plano ng kalaban,” she added.
Donasco said that for urgent concerns, the police chief is the one who will weigh the situation if indeed the call for assistance is urgent.
On Feb. 13, seven policemen – instead of the 10 that was earlier reported – were on board their patrol car when they were ambushed by the NPA at Sitio Candida, Barangay Biao while responding to a report of a cadaver found in the said village.
The ambush led to a brief encounter that left two police officers wounded. A 15-year-old boy was also wounded after he was hit by a stray bullet.
Ka Dionesio Magbuelas, spokesperson of Mount Cansermon Command (MCC)-NPA, in a statement released to the media on Tuesday accused the police of causing injuries to the minor.
Magbuelas said that while one of the police officers was running, he allegedly fired his gun despite reaching the residential area in the village, which injured the minor-civilian.
But Police Major Ellendie Rebusquillo, town police chief, denied such accusation, saying that their position during the firefight was not towards the people.
Rebusquillo said that a portion of the firefight was captured in a video and could be used as proof.
“Gina himo lang na nila (NPA) para maguba ang imahe ka kapulisan, kay indi sila gusto na maguba ila reputasyon, ka klaro kung diin nakaposition ang patrol car kag ang mga tawo,” the police chief added.
Meanwhile, Police Brigadier General Flynn Dongbo, director of Police Regional Office (PRO)-6, visited Police Lieutenant Charles Richard Casalan, deputy police chief of Binalbagan Municipal Police Station, who got severely wounded in the armed encounter.
Casalan underwent surgery in a hospital here after his right hand was hit by a bullet in the firefight.
Dongbo awarded Casalan with “Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting” for his bravery in the performance of duty. He was also given cash assistance by the regional headquarters.
Dongbo also commended the bravery of the members of the said police station in performing their duty with dedication and commitment.
The six other policemen who figured in the firefight with the rebels will also be awarded, according to Rebusquillo.
On the other hand, Rebusquillo said that Bertito Roso Jr., who was found dead in the village, was an asset of the government forces, thus making him a target of the NPA.
“Gin gamit lang siya para sa plano nila (NPA) sa mga kapulisan,” he added.
The MCC-NPA on Tuesday also admitted killing Roso for being a military asset, based on their statement.