FIVE suspected kidnappers in police uniforms were killed early Tuesday morning, April 10, in an encounter with police officers during a rescue operation in San Pablo City, Laguna.
A policewoman identified as PO1 Sarah Jane Andal was also killed in the operation while three other officers were wounded.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa said the officers were trying to rescue Renato Arguelles, who was abducted on Monday, April 9, in Candaleria, Quezon province, about 25 kilometers away from the site of the encounter.
Arguelles was also hurt during the encounter.
The wounded were brought to the San Pablo Medical Center for treatment.
Dela Rosa said Arguelles is a high-value target who is included in the drugs watch list of the Police Regional Office in Calabarzon (Region 4-A) and Quezon Provincial Police Office.
Arguelles has been arrested three times already, but he is able to post bail each time, he added.
Dela Rosa said the Arguelles family had received a call from the kidnappers, who asked for P800,000 ransom money in exchange for the victim’s freedom.
The family sought assistance from the police before agreeing to meet with the suspects in Alaminos, Laguna for the pay-off.
The firefight between the kidnappers and the police ensued as the suspects tried to escape.
The suspects, who were all wearing police uniforms, were cornered along Maharlika Highway in San Pablo City.
Based on their police uniforms, four of the suspects were identified as Senior Police Officer (SPO) 2 Adalla, SPO3 Fernandez, Police Officer 3 Dizon, and PO2 Rebadulla. The fifth suspect has not been identified.
"Sa itsura palang makikita mo na na hindi pulis, naka-uniporme pero naka tsinelas? Walang pulis na ganun, (They don’t look like police. They are in uniforms but wearing slippers? There is no cop like that)" he said.
Dela Rosa said, however, that the suspects were not real policemen based on PNP records and the physical appearance of the suspects.
Recovered from the suspects’ vehicles were one Thompson Rifle, two caliber .45 pistol, two hand grenades and assorted ammunitions.
Dela Rosa said the PNP is still conducting an in-depth investigation, particularly on how a high-value target like Arguelles is able to stay out of jail.
Senior Superintendent Glenn Dumlao, PNP-Anti-Kidnapping Group director, said that based on initial investigation, Arguelles had been paying payola to the suspects after they introduced themselves as agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. (SunStar Philippines)