IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS IN MASBATE: PNP intel officer, barangay chair killed in ambush; 4 cops wounded

By Celso Amo LEGAZPI CITY --- An undetermined number of heavily armed men believed to be New People’s Army (NPA) rebels killed in an ambush the former intelligence officer of the Regional Mobile Force Batallion (RMFB) in Bicol and his companion past noon Sunday in Barangay Calipatan in San Jacinto, Masbate . Retired SPO2 Rommel Borromeo y Genova, 58, former Intel Operative of RMFB5 and Antonio Barsaga y Cantoria, 65, a retired security guard, were onboard a motorcycle when communist terrorists exploded an improvised explosive planted on the roadside and then riddled them with gunfire, killing them on the spot, Chief Inspector Malou Calubaquib, Bicol PNP spokesperson, reported. The scene of the ambush was the same spot where PO3 Noly Bartolay was gunned down last April 16, 2018 by suspected rebels. Immediately upon receiving the information from a concerned citizen, San Jacinto police including elements from the 503rd PNP Maneuver Company, Charlie Company of the 9th Infantry Division proceeded to the scene where they saw the bodies of the victims swimming in their own pool of blood at about 12:35 p.m. of August 26. Responding operatives recovered from the crime scene 52 pieces of fired cartridges, ten missed fired cartridges, 29 fired cartridges from M-16 rifle and 29 fired cartridges and a missed fired cartridge from an AK-47 rifle including a 55 meter long black TW detonating wire. The bodies were brought to Ticao District Hospital for postmortem examination. Meanwhile, hitmen on board a motorcycle shot dead the barangay chairman of Luna in Placer, Masbate and his companion, also on Sunday late afternoon. Eric Tupas, Barangay Luna chairman and president of Liga ng mga Barangay, and his companion Rommie Bagaan were on board a motorcycle from the poblacion of Placer town enroute to Barangay Daraga when their assailants shot them dead at about 6:00 p.m. of that fateful Sunday. Probers are still conducting an investigation to identify the perpetrators and the motive of the killing. In another earlier incident, on Friday, Aug. 24, SPO2 Ariel L Espiel, PO2 Leo Michael Azares, PO2 Melmar Rapsing and PO2 Rosalito Apoya II while on board a vehicle were wounded when an improvised explosive believed planted by communist rebels at the roadside in Barangay Biyong, Legazpi City exploded at about 7:50 a.m. of that day. The victims had departed from a police community assistance center in Bayonbong, Masbate City to attend a symposium in nearby Capitolina Ogaya Legazpi Memorial High School (COLMHS) when the explosive device exploded.