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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, February 24, 2016
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NPA owns
Candoni ambush

The New People's Army yesterday claimed responsibility for the ambush on a police patrol car in Taytay Panaculan, Barangay Canigay, Cadoni, that left two policemen dead and others injured on February 18.

The NPA warned civilians from riding on police and Army vehicles because they are legitimate military targets, and should avoid their being used as shields during rebel attacks.

Andrea Guerrero, spokesperson of the NPA Armado Sumayang Jr. Command Southwest Negros Guerilla Front, claimed in a statement that the ambushed PNP unit is well known for its protection racket of those engaged in illegal gambling and illegal drug pushing in Cadoni town.

But Senior Supt. William Señoron, Negros Occidental OIC police director, denied the NPA claim, saying the Candoni police have been actively involved in the arrests of those engaged in illegal drugs and gambling, and the filing of charges against them.

The Candoni police have a lot of accomplishments, Señoron said, citing the arrest of Jey-Jech Manzano, son of former Candoni Mayor Jechonias Manzano, on February 7 during anti-drug operations that yielded about P198,000 worth of suspected shabu.

But the target of the buy-bust operation identified as former PO3 William Escalada managed to escape and is still being pursued, he said.

Guerrero said the February 18 ambush on the police was staged with the cooperation of residents who reported the presence of illegal drugs and gambling operators in the town. The staging of the ambush is a failure of police intelligence work and of the administration of Mayor Cicero Borromeo that has allocated a large intelligence fund for counter insurgency work, Guerrero said.

Guerrero said two policemen were killed and three were injured in the ambush, and their troops were able to recover two armalite assault riffles, a .45 caliber pistol, bullets and magazines of M-16 rifles.

The civilian who was injured was not on board the police vehicle that was ambushed but on a tricycle that passed the area, Guerrero said.

While the NPA claimed three were injured, the police said four were injured.

Killed was Police Officer 1 Henry Vell Pacheco and PO2 Joeharry Peralta , and injured were P O2 Jay Arroyo , PO1 Modesto Bena , civilians Rey Duales , 38, who was on board the vehicle and Julius Miravalles , 33, who was in his house nearby, Señoron said.

He also said thr ee M - 16 assault rifles and two 9mm pistols of the Candoni policemen were taken by the rebels, contrary to the claim of the rebels.

Guerrero alleged that the Army based near the ambush site did not immediately aid the ambushed policemen, as was the case in the Mamapasano incident.

Señoron said that is not true, the police was working in close coordination with the Army.

It was agreed that the police would enter the area first, he said.

Señoron said it is good that the NPA claimed responsibility for the ambush as it backs their initial findings. He said they are conducting pursuit operations on the culprits, and investigating who their conduits are.

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said no words in the dictionary can describe the atrocities committed by the NPA, referring to the Candoni ambush.*CPG




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