Ambush in Negros Occidental kills 9-A A +A
Sunday, January 27, 2013
BACOLOD CITY (Updated) -- Nine persons were killed while nine others were injured in an ambush staged by suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Barangay Puso, La Castellana town, Negros Occidental, early Sunday morning.
Among those slain in the ambush was Police Officer 1 Richard Canja, a resident of Barangay Cabacungan, La Castellana, who sustained a gunshot wound in his head.
Other fatalities were Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) members Ulysses Tamayor, Jonathan Mateo and Ramir Complesa; civilians Virginia Ordonez and Lito Lucban, both of Barangay Cabacungan; civilian driver Ricky Dingcong; and barangay tanods Mario Ricablanca and Tiotimo Esplegera of Barangay Puso.
La Castellana Police Chief Senior Inspector Gary Alan Resuma said wounded in the attack were Police Officer 3 Constantino Villegas and Police Officer 2 Jeffrey Alvarez, who were both assigned at the Cabacungan police detachment alongside Canja, among others.
Investigation showed that the victims were on their way home to Barangay Cabacungan, La Castellana after securing the peace and order during the fiesta celebration in Barangay Puso around 3:45 a.m. Sunday, when the attack happened.
On board the truck were 22 passengers, including the three police officers and BPAT members.
The civilians who attended the fiesta merely hitched a ride with the BPAT and the police officers so they could be dropped off near their houses along the way.
Photos courtesy of the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office
According to the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, the ambush was staged by approximately 30 gunmen who were hiding in a sugarcane field.
The nine fatalities died on the spot, while the two police officers and some civilians who were injured were rushed to a hospital for medical treatment.
Police Regional Office-Western Visayas Director Agrimero Cruz Jr. arrived at the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office (Noppo) on Sunday and checked the crime scene in La Castellana town.
With him were Noppo officer-in-charge Senior Superintendent Celestino Guara, Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO)-OIC Senior Superintendent Edgardo Ordaniel, former BCPO director Ricardo De la Paz, and former Noppo director Senior Superintendent Allan Guisihan.
Cruz condemned the killing, pointing out that several innocent civilians were killed. “This kind of action can only be done by hopeless people,” he said.
Guara also condemned the senseless ambush. He said that based on the Scene of the Crime Operatives investigation, nearly 300 rounds of ammunition were fired at the hapless group.
The police theorized that the attackers may have been communist NPA rebels as, when they withdrew, they reportedly yelled, "Long live the NPA."
Guara said the three slain cops managed to return fire but there were just too many gunmen firing away at them.
He also said that one of the police officers in the truck had received death threats over a land dispute.
After the ambush, the suspects reportedly checked the victims' bodies to determine if they were really dead. Some of them were reportedly shot at close range.
Reports also said that a local private armed group in La Castellana might have initiated the killing.
Combined elements of the Negros Occidental police, the Army's Special Forces and Scout Rangers were conducting pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels, while the cadaver of the victims were brought to Nalagon Funeral Homes in La Castellana. (Sun.Star Bacolod/Sunnex)