CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – Two policemen were shot and killed by undetermined armed men in an ambush in an election hotspot town of Masbate today, a military report said.
LtCol Anthony Purugganan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Battalion which has jurisdiction over Masbate Province said that the two policemen were on board a motorcycle when they were waylaid by unknown perpetrators numbering more or less 5 in Malamag village, Pio V Corpuz town at around 7:00am today.
P/Senior Superintendent Thomas Seminiano, Masbate Provincial Director identified the fatalities as PO3 Nonilon Agbones and SPO1 Nilo Abejuela, both members of the Pio V Corpuz town police force.
The two policemen were reporting for duty when they were waylaid by heavily-armed men. The bullet-riddled body of the victims were immediately brought to the local police station for autopsy.
Responding soldiers and policemen recovered spent casings for M16 and M14 rifles in the crime scene.
Seminiano said that he couldn’t immediately identify the perpetrators because the investigation is still ongoing. However, he doesn’t discount the possibility that the bandit terrorist group are behind the killings.
“The crime scene is a traditional NPA ambush site. One of our town police chief perished in that area when he was ambushed by NPA rebels sometime in 2003. The perpetrators seemed to have stayed for a while to spot for the victims as indicated by the food traces in their position,” said Seminiano who narrated the report through phone while making some dialogues in San Fernando town regarding the eradication of election related violence today.
The killing was the first recorded attack on government forces after the creation of the Joint Coordinating Center for Private Armies (JCCPA) which is tasked to dismantle the various private armed groups in the island province.
The JCCPA and the Special Task Force Masbate were credited for its recent arrest of at least 6 suspected PAGs members and the confiscation of 8 highpowered firearms last month.
A platoon of soldiers led by 1st Lieutenant Ronnie Garchitorena, together with elements from the Masbate PNP led by Police Inspector Moratala have conducted joint operations to hunt down the perpetrators.