Davao town’s police force sacked following NPA raid

Davao town’s police force sacked following NPA raid
By Ferdinand O. Zuasola, Orlando Dinoy
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 01:24pm (Mla time) 08/25/2007

SAN ISIDRO, Davao Oriental — The entire police force of this town has been sacked following the August 22 raid by New People’s Army rebels during which the government lost a total of 15 firearms to the guerrillas.


The provincial police leadership has replaced the entire San Isidro police force with policemen from the provincial mobile group, headed by Senior Insp. Epe Rillo.


Supt. Wilbert Clarin, Davao Oriental deputy police chief, said the relieved policemen, including the San Isidro police chief, Insp. Edgar Viagedor, were now restricted to camp.


“They are now under investigation. They are now restricted at the police provincial headquarters in Mati. They have a lot of explaining to do given the number of firearms seized by the rebels from them,” Clarin said.


Viagedor and his men were inside the police station and were caught by surprise by the noontime raid.


“We cannot put up a fight because we were overwhelmed by their numbers. There were at least 70 rebels who stormed our police station,” Viagedor said.


An earlier police report said the rebels numbered only 20 and came aboard two L-300 vans.


Among the firearms confiscated by the rebels were M-16 rifles.


“We also have to protect our lives, otherwise all of us would have been killed by the rebels,” Viagedor said.


Aside from raiding the San Isidro police station, the rebels also disarmed the guards at a nearby farm.


Clarin said the police have already invited the drivers of the two vans for questioning.


But he immediately added that they were only asked about things that could shed light on the incident.


“The two drivers, both residents of Mati City, have said that they were hired and were told they were to fetch a sickly man from San Isidro. They were given P3,000 each after the NPA raid,” he said.


The San Isidro raid prompted the Southern Mindanao police to order its commanders to heighten security in their areas.


In Digos City, Senior Supt. Samuel Navaja, Davao del Sur police chief, warned chiefs of police and their men about the possible loss of their jobs if they fall prey to communist rebels.


“We will discharge them from the service if we could prove that they neglected their duties and responsibilities, when rebels will become successful in getting firearms from them,” Navaja said.


Navaja also warned police chiefs about an intelligence report that the NPA has fielded its sparrow unit of assassins in the province.


“Two of them were women and they were targeting PNP officials,” he said.


In Bansalan, Davao del Sur, Chief Insp. Restituto Abril, the town’s police chief, said they were closely watching some areas of barangays Managa, Darapuay, Alta Vista, Alegre and Eman after residents reported seeing NPA rebels there a few days ago.


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