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PNP slams NPA for cop ambush-slay

By Connie Calipay

The Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5) has condemned the New People's Army (NPA) for attacking government troops who were serving a warrant of arrest in Sitio Tucao, Barangay JMA, San Miguel town in Catanduanes that killed a police officer.

Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo, PRO5 regional director, said the manhunt operation against two No. 1 Provincial Most Wanted Persons conducted by operatives from the San Miguel Municipal Police Station and First Provincial Mobile Force Company of Catanduanes Police Office resulted in the NPA's brutal killing of SMS John Teston on Feb. 1.

We are condeming the ambush against our fellow police officers in San Miguel, Catanduanes. This is disguting and only shows cowardice and no respect to the authorities. Our policemen are just doing their jobs in enforcing the law, Estomo said.

Maj. Malu Calubaquib, PRO5 spokesperson, said Teston was assigned at the San Miguel Police Station.

"The police operatives were about to serve the warrant of arrest against two top provincial most wanted persons with 25 counts of rape and violation of PD (Presidential Decree) 705 (Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines). Sad to say, the police operatives did not get them and when they are about to withdraw in the area, they were attacked by more or less 15 rebels," Calubaquib said.

The police officers were fired at by the rebels while they were on their way back to the station, she said.

"As part of the directives of Brig. Gen. Estomo, troops from Catanduanes PPO, and 83rd Infantry Battalion, were deployed to the area to ensure the safety of the other policemen. After the rescue operation, the other five policemen were rescued in the house of the barangay captain," Calubaquib said.

The rebels were able to get the cellphone, wallet, copy of the warrant of arrest, and service firearm of Teston, whose body was brought to the St. Peter Funeral Homes, in Virac, Catanduanes for post-mortem examination.

Recovered at the clash site was one empty bullet of a 7.62-caliber and 12 empty bullets of 5.56-caliber firearms.

Calubaquib said continued operations and investigation were being conducted to identify the suspects behind the police officer's killing.

"We are saddened by the untimely death of our brother-in-arms and we send our deepest sympathies to his family. We make sure that we are ready to help. We are also asking the help of the public for the immediate resolution of this incident," Estomo added.

Meanwhile, Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua, in a post on his social media page on Feb. 1, condoled with the bereaved family of the slain policeman. My symphathy with the family of PSMS John D. Teston or popularly known as Rambo. Justice must be served on the police officer's death, he said. (PNA)


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