By Juan Escandor Jr.
NAGA CITY--- The rebel New People’s Army (NPA) has admitted to having used a ‘command detonated explosive’ in the latest attack they staged in Labo, Camarines Norte even as one more police officer succumbed to death at the Camarines Norte Provincial Hospital last Tuesday, Dec. 5, that brought to two the total number of fatalities in that deadly ambush.
The Police Provincial Office in Camarines Norte has identified PO2 Richard Abad of the Provincial Police Mobile Force to have died on the spot while PO1 Pedro Valeros, assigned at the Talisay Municipal Police Station, died at the hospital last Tuesday, or three days after the ambush that took place at dawn last Saturday (Dec. 2).
Wounded and recuperating at the hospital are Ronald Gutierrez and Ericson De Vera both with rank of PO2, and Jeffrey Tarrobago, Romar Umandap, Johnson España, and Mark Anthony Aguilar, all with a rank of PO1.
The NPA rebels under the Armando Catapia Command (ACC) owned up to the ambush.
ACC admitted to having used ‘command-detonated explosive’ or landmine at the time when two police patrol cars were cruising along the Maharlika Highway in Labo, Camarines Norte.
In a statement, the NPA rebels said that the ambush was the response to the Communist Party of Philippines’ call to heighten the tactical offensive as part of the initiative to seek the downfall of the “fascist” regime of Rodrigo Duterte and the use of the landmine follows the rules laid down by the Geneva Convention.
“Sa tulong ng masa, masusing napag-aralan ng ACC ang galaw ng yunit ng pulis at inabangan ang pagdaan nito sa kahabaan ng Maharlika Highway,” the statement said.
(With the help of the masses, the ACC was able to study the movement of the police unit and waited for them to pass through the length of the Maharlika Highway.)
The ACC said the NPA rebels did not suffer casualty and were able to retrieve four M16 rifles, one 9mm and several ammunitions.
They condemn President Duterte for “arbitrarily” junking the peace talks between the National Democratic Front and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, including the government declaration of the NDF, CPP and the NPA as terrorist organizations.