The Philippine National Police (PNP) insisted on Wednesday, March 10, that it was the group of Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino who fired the first shot that eventually triggered a shootout which left him and five others, including three policemen, dead.
“Nagtamang duda yung security ni Mayor na sinusundan sila so without apparent reason binaril nila ang sasakyan ng pulis. (The security of the Mayor thought that they were followed, that’s why they fired on the vehicles of the policemen,” said PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas. Sinas said this triggered a shootout between the two groups.
Brig. Gen. Ronaldo de Jesus, director of the Police Regional Office 8, also denied that what happened in Calbayog City was a bungled ambush of the local police.
He said that the group of policemen on board two vehicles were on their way to conduct inspection in some areas in Samar when they were fired upon.
The policemen are from the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group and the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit.
“There was no ambush. And we do not even look at the politics angle because we do not have involvement whatsoever in politics,” said de Jesus.
Sinas also said that the IMEG and DEU forces were on their way to check on the readiness of police units in Samar against possible attacks from the communist rebels.
But amid allegations of ambush, Sinas said he had already tapped the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to assist in the conduct of the investigation.
Friends and supporters of Aquino, however, said they do not trust the PNP in the conduct of investigation and instead appealed to the National Bureau of Investigation to ensure impartial probe.