PNP slams killing of 4 cops in Ayungon town

CAMP FRANCISCO FERNANDEZ, Sibulan, Negros Oriental, July 24 (PIA)—The Philippine National Police (PNP) vehemently condemned the killing of the four policemen in sitio Yamot ,  Barangay Mabato, Ayungon  July 18  and called the incident as a gross violation of human rights.

“The PNP vows justice to the perpetrators  as four personnel of the 704th Regional Mobile Force Company of Regional Mobile Force Battalion 7 stationed in Poblacion, Mabinay were treacherously and brutally tortured then  murdered by members of the CPP-NPA-NDF terrorists in the area of Sitio Yamot, Barangay Mabato, municipality of Ayungon, Negros Orienal,” said PNP Chief Police General Oscar Albayalde when he faced members of the local media in a briefing at the PNP Provincial Headquarteters in Sibulan, July 20.

CPP-NPA-NDF refers to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front . the PIA said..

“The PNP vehemently denounced these inhuman acts and the gross violations of human rights done by CPP-NPA-NDF to our troops. The long arms of the law are now stretching within and beyond borders to catch all those who are responsible for the death of the said PNP personnel,” Albayalde said.

Only July 18 at around 2:30 p.m., PCpl. Relebert Beronio, Pat. Raffy Callao, Pat. Roel Cabellon, and Pat. Marquino De Leon were allegedly killed by  NPA members in Sitio Yamot, Brgy. Mabato in Ayungon town while conducting an intelligence gathering in the area.

Police investigation revealed the four policemen were stripped of their firearms, butt-stroked, hogtied, and tortured before they were shot in the head.

The four cops were there to verify reports of NPA presence in the area.

Disguised as foresters, the victims were riding motorcycles on their way to the house of a certain Victoriano Anadon alias “Oto” when they were ambushed by around 30 to 40 members of NPA.

Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 Director BGEN. Debold Sinas said they are raising a theory that the incident was a “set-up” to kill the four policemen.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Eduardo Año  who also came along with Gen Abayalde  who met President Duterte who flew in later in the night , also criticized how the cops were mercilessly executed.

While the PNP accused the NPA of violating human rights, in a similar vein, the NPAs also accused the military of the same violation in various cases in the past.  It was a simple tooth for a tooth vindication observers say.

PGEN. Albayalde assured that “appropriate charges have been  filed against those we have already identified through the help of the peace-loving and peace-promoting people and barangay officials of Barangay Mabato, Ayungon.”

“We assure not only the family but the whole Filipino nation that justice will be served. We want to assure the people in the Negros (Oriental) province that we will do everything to make this province a very peaceful place to live, work, and do business,” Albayalde said.

Sinas earlier disclosed that PRO-7 already asked the assistance of the 94th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army for a joint operation to track down the suspects behind the killing.

But analysts say that more troops do not assure a solution but the shifting of the minds of the masses who have already been indoctrinated by the NPAs because of the absence of government in many parts of the island.  Government should have been there in full and satisfactory service, before the NPAs  came in.

Meanwhile, a report from Philippine News Agency dated July 22 said Ayungon Police Chief Police Capt. Romel Luga confirmed that criminal charges were filed against six suspected members of NPA that are allegedly involved in the case, namely: Victoriano Bangala Anadon Jr., Jonathan Baldivino, Rengie Anadon Baluhabo, Gelie Anadon Ebedo, Joseph Torres Ogates, and Jelly Anadon Ebedo.

On the other hand, Año announced that the families of the four cops received P250,000 each as  cash assistance from the  Office of the President, livelihood assistance, housing benefits, and free educational assistance under President Rodrigo Duterte’s Comprehensive Social Benefit Program for police officers and soldiers. (ral/PIA7-NegOr)