By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – Four days after the ambush slay of four policemen at Brgy. Mabato, Ayungon, Negros Oriental last Thursday, the Mt. Cansermon Command – New People’s Army (MCC-NPA) on Monday claimed to be behind the attack.
MCC-NPA spokesperson Dionisio Magbuelas said “based on their intelligence report, the policemen, who were all intelligence operatives and members of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB)-7, were allegedly gathering information and surveillance at the area for another Oplan Sauron or Synchronized Enhanced Management Police Operations (Sempo), “wherein, according to them, innocent civilians are killed by uniformed personnel in the guise of counter-insurgency efforts.”
The Sempo made headlines earlier this year after 14 suspected members of the Special Partisan Unit (Sparu) of the NPA, including two village chiefs, were killed during the simultaneous implementation of search warrants for illegal possession of firearms and explosives in the said province on March 30.
In December 2018, six persons were also killed after they allegedly resisted arrest from police operatives during the same operation in the said province.
Magbuelas alleged that slain Police Corporal Relebert Beronio, and Patrolmen Raffy Callao, Roel Cabellon, and Marquino de Leon have been long harassing the residents in the area for supporting the revolutionary movement.
In fact, the residents were forced to evacuate because of continued intimidation, he said.
The group alleged that they recovered from the slain policemen four .9mm caliber pistols, nine magazines, 135 ammunition, and a list of names of their targets.
“It has been proven that the fascist US-President Rodrigo Duterte regime has long been using elements of reactionary armed force to threaten, intimidate, harass, and even kill people,” Magbuelas said.
“Through this successful tactical offensive, we have foiled the enemy’s plan of repression and terrorism towards the people,” he added.
The group said, “let this be a warning to the reactionary fascist regime that the NPA is ever determined to frustrate your all-out offensives and to punish you for all the brutal crimes against the people.”
Col. Raul Tacaca, director of Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office (Norppo), said on Monday that multiple murder and theft charges were filed last Friday against Victoriano Anadon Jr., five others, and several John and Jane does.
Tacaca said Anadon and five others were identified by witnesses to have direct involvement in the killing.
On July 18, the slain policemen were supposed to meet their contact, Anadon to verify reports about the alleged presence of NPA in the said area, when they were reportedly attacked by about 30 to 40 armed men, disarmed, hogtied, tortured, and executed.
Their service firearms and personal belongings were also carted away by the armed men.
Tacaca said Anadon was arrested after police confirmed his links with the NPA.
Police earlier said that Anadon told them that he allegedly tied the hands of the two policemen and he was allowed to leave unharmed.
Authorities considered the attack as a setup since the slain policemen were already identified as law enforcers even before they went to the area.
Anadon is detained at Ayungon Municipal Police Station while his five other companions who allegedly executed the police officers are still at large, Tacaca said.
Tacaca said the investigation is ongoing to determine the other factors in the attack, and to identify the other perpetrators.
Over the weekend, President Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde, and other government officials visited the wake of the four police officers at Norppo headquarters in Sibulan town, where they were also conferred with posthumous awards.
The recent attack happened two years after the Guihulngan ambush, killing six policemen, including the city police chief, Lt Col. Arnel Arpon at Brgy. Magsaysay on July 21, 2017. It also resulted in the injuries of three other policemen when they responded to the call for assistance of a councilor who was also gunned down by the alleged rebels last year.