A police officer was killed, two others were wounded, and two were able to escape from two separate ambush incidents involving New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Cortes, Surigao del Sur Friday.
According to SecurityMatters sources, some 50 NPA rebels ambushed a police car carrying four officers at around 9 a.m. in Purok 5, Barangay Poblacion.
Sources said the rebels engaged the officers in a 15-minute firefight killing a police officer identified as SPO4 Jesus Labastila and wounding another named PO2 Joy Turaja.
Two other officers identified as SPO2 Venson Sanchez and PO3 Rogelio Bagnol managed to escape and return to the Cortes Municipal Police Station unharmed.
The communist rebels fled north to the direction of Lanuza and Carmen, Surigao del Sur aboard two Starex vans and one Elf truck.
They carted away two M16 rifles and two cal. 9mm pistols seized from the cops.
In the afternoon of the same day, the rebels ambushed the Provincial Safety Company Team headed by Deputy Police provincial director for operations Supt. Edwin Noguerra at around 3:30 p.m. in Barangay Matho, also in Cortes town.
Noguerra was aboard a patrol car in a convoy with two other mobile patrol vehicles on their way to the Cortes Municipal Police Station when they were waylaid by the rebels.
Sources said the patrol car was met with loud explosions set off by suspected landmines wounding SPO2 Herminio Ermila and damaging the patrol car.
Combined elements of the Philippine National Police and the Army’s 36th Infantry Battalion supported by two MG attack helicopters from the 402nd Infantry Brigade conducted pursuit and clearing operations.