By Celso Amo
LEGAZPI CITY --- Two cops who were wounded by an improvised explosive in Baleno, Masbate on Saturday are still confined for serious condition at the Masbate Provincial Hospital and the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH) here.
PO1 Joshue Escalante is undergoing treatment at BRTTH while PO1 Nixon Jones Cid is also being attended to at Masbate Provincial Hospital, according to Senior Inspector Malou Calubaquib, Bicol PNP spokesperson.
Calubaquib said four policemen were hit by shrapnel; two of them were slightly injured while the other two were wounded in different parts of their bodies.
The police patrol car they were on board at the time of the incident was damaged on its right side.
Recovered at the scene of explosion were a solar panel with 20 inches of wire cord connected to a cellphone battery, a seventy meter wire cord including two pieces of shrapnel and an undershirt left by the perpetrator.
Elements of Regional Mobile Force Batallion 5 of the Regional Special Task Group-Masbate led by Police Senior Inspector Ermelo Dischoso, Jr. were on board a patrol car while on the road in Barangay Canjuday in Baleno, Masbate when it was hit by an improvised explosive at about 9:25 a.m. of that day. They were on their way back to the Masbate police provincial office after having just served a search warrant in nearby Barangay Tinapian.
Meanwhile, a day after the incident, two suspected gun runners, one of them a retired policemen, were nabbed in Masbate.
The suspects were nabbed in Milaagros, Masbate on Sunday, May 6, for violation of gun ban being enforced by Comelec in connection with the upcoming May 14 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
Arrested were Carlos Canindo Jr y Dancasil, 60, a retired PNP member, and Alex Marcos y Nuñez, 50. Both are from Barangay Malinta in Masbate City, according to Senior Inspector Malou Calubaquib, Bicol PNP spokesperson.
Recovered from them were two cal. 45 pistols and a 9mm handgun with twenty-three live ammunition, including two units of steel magazine assembly.
Calubaquib said joint elements of Milagros police led by Police Chief Inspector Norlando Mesa, including elements of the Regional Special Operations Task Group (RSOTG)-Masbate, and Masbate Provincial Intelligence Branch led by Police Supt. Paul Cabug put up a poseur-buyer to catch the two suspected gun runners.
Bicol Comelec regional Director Atty. Maria Juana S. Valeza disclosed that of the total 3,471 barangays in Bicol, 1,136 of them have been classified as areas of concerns.
Valeza said there are 143 barangays in Masbate that have been specified as areas of immediate concern and 133 as areas of concern.
Aroroy and San Fernando towns, also in Masbate, have also been classified as areas of grave concern, she added.