Illegal loggers attack cops; deputy police chief wounded

Illegal loggers in Cagayan are fighting the campaign against illegal logging as they attacked a group of policemen who were sent to check on a stockpile of illegally cut logs in Peñablanca.


Police Brig. Gen. Crizaldo Nieves, director of the Cagayan Valley police, said the attack that occurred Thursday wounded Police Lt. Randy Baccay, deputy chief of police of the Peñablanca Municipal Police Station.

But Nieves said the local policemen stood their ground and traded shots with illegal loggers. They were able to arrest one of the attackers who was later identified as 45-year-old Ernest Sibbaluca.

Following the widespread flooding in Cagayan and Isabela during typhoon "Ulysses," national police chief Police Gen. Debold Sinas ordered a crackdown on illegal logging in Cagayan Valley which was blamed to be one of the reasons for the flooding.

Nieves said local police were informed about a stockpile of timber in Sitio Dalayat in Barangay Minanga Thursday. A team of policemen led by Baccay was sent to the area to check the information.

As they were inspecting the area, a group of armed men started shooting at them which resulted into a gun battle.

Baccay was immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital for treatment while Sibbaluca was taken to the Peñablanca Police Station for investigation.

Sinas instructed Nieves to extend P50,000 financial assistance for the medical expenses of Baccay.

“I have also ordered a manhunt against those responsible for this attack. More aggressive police operations will continue against illegal logging activities,” said Sinas.

Sibbaluca is facing criminal charges for direct assault upon an agent of authority and frustrated murder.