CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – A suspected member of the partisan armed group (PAG) was arrested after a clash with joint police and military patrol in Masbate yesterday (Sep 24), a military report said.
A report from the 9th Infantry Battalion that reached 9ID headquarters stated that s a certain Carmelo Pioneda was nabbed by joint military and police patrol led by 1st Lieutenant Ronnie Garchitorena in San Marcos village of Placer town at around 7:45am.
A Cal 5.56mm M16A1 Rifle with several rounds of ammunitions were confiscated by the soldiers and policemen inside Pioneda’s house.
Prior to the arrest, policemen belonging to the Regional Mobile Group encountered more or less 10 heavily-armed men near the vicinity of Pioneda’s residence at around 6:30am. Garchitorena and 9 of his soldiers rushed to the scene to reinforce the engaged policemen.
No one was reported hurt in the 5-minute firefight which forced the unidentified armed men to scamper in disarray. Some of the armed men fled towards the direction of Pioneda’s house.
An investigation is ongoing to ascertain the involvement of Pioneda in the aforementioned firefight. He is now in the custody of Placer police as a criminal case (Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition) is filed against him.
The Joint Coordinating Center for Private Armies (JCCPA) has recently been established to dismantle the various partisan armed groups in Masbate province. It is composed by personnel from the 9th Infantry Battalion and the Masbate Provincial Police.
Local leaders had been clamoring for the creation of a joint task force similar to the Special Task Force Masbate after the deadly ambush of a political leader in San Pascual town last month which left 5 people dead.
Major General Ruperto Pabustan has commended the JCCPA for its efficient coordination leading to the arrest of some suspected partisan armed group members.