Four cops die in NPA ambush

Bulan, Sorsogon, November 10, 2009: In a daring ambush believed to have been staged by the NPA’s Celso Minguez Command, four policemen from the 509th Provincial Police Mobile Group (PPMG) stationed in Bulan, Sorsogon instantly died after they hit a landmine at Sitio San Jose, in Barangay Calomagon around 11:30 on November 9. Four other policemen were injured. Another male person believed to be a member of the NPA also died near the spot.

The slain policemen were Police Inspector Jerson De Leon, the Group Deputy Commander, SPO1 Johnson S. Gerola, PO2 Darwin Detoito and PO1 Ryan Padrique. Those injured were PO1 Baldano, PO1 Guamos, PO1 Jordan and PO1 Lanuza. The dead NPA was still unidentified as of presstime. Except for Officer Gerola, all other policemen are not from this town.

The policemen were on a hot pursuit operation after a reported ransacking incident at the residence in Barangay J.P. Laurel of one Gary Guyala by five unidentified armed men believed to be members of the NPA when the patrol mobile they were riding hit an improvised explosive device (IED).

Immediately after reports were received by the police, reinforcements jointly composed of the Philippine Army, the Bulan Municipal Police Station and the 509th were dispatched to the area. The wounded were immediately brought to hospitals in Bulan. A hot pursuit operation is still being conducted by the military operatives.

Simultaneous to the raid in J.P Laurel, the NPAs also conducted a blockade along the highway in Barangay G. Del Pilar to prevent reinforcements while the ambush was being staged, to prevent military reinforcements by the Army who are stationed in Barangay San Isidro.

Mayor Helen C. De Castro, upon learning of the incident, immediately visited the casualties.. She also conferred with various police authorities. She is due to deliver a Peace Message appealing to all in the name of peace in Bulan.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Inspector Alvin Gruba, 509th Group Commander, who was out of town when the incident took place was temporarily relieved of his post pending the outcome of the investigation on the incident. He was replaced by Police Chief Inspector Perfecto Lovenia.

Observers believe that this attack was a retaliation for the setbacks suffered by the NPAs in Sorsogon. Three weeks ago, nine NPA fighters were killed in Pilar Town. After a week, four suspected NPAs were captured in Magallanes Town, and two days before the Calomagon ambush, four more NPA cadres surrendered in Juban Town. The Philippine Army based in Sorsogon has been conducting massive and intensified operations against the NPAs whom the Philippine Government now consider as a Terrorist Group.

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