By Aaron Recuenco
Three men were killed after a brief gun battle with the police who tried to convince them to surrender for almost seven hours in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, Saturday night.
Brig. Gen. Edward Carranza, director of the CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) regional police, said the negotiation started at around 5 p.m. on Saturday after his men surrounded a house in Barangay San Pablo in Sto. Tomas.
He said the operation stemmed from a report of some residents who spotted three suspicious-looking men entering a house in their community.
“For three to four days, they were subjected to surveillance,” said Carranza.
The cops decided to carry out the operation on Saturday after one of the police intelligence operatives saw the three men armed.
Col. Edwin Quilates, director of the Batangas Provincial Police Office, said that the three armed men locked themselves inside the house after seeing the cops surrounding them.
One of the three men was quoted saying: “Hindi kami susuko, lalaban kami (We will not surrender. We will fight) Allahu Akbar!”
“Negotiation for several hours was made by for them to peacefully surrender, the assistance of an Imam was also requested to no avail,” said Quilates.
At around 11:30 p.m., the gunmen were heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” anew, before they started shooting at the policemen.
A gunfight ensued and it resulted in the death of the gunmen. Two policemen were also shot but were saved by their bulletproof vests.
Seized from the area were three .45 pistols.
An investigation is still being conducted to determine the identity and possible group affiliation of the slain gunmen, as well as to know why they were in Sto.Tomas.