Monday, November 3, 2014

Police foil ‘agaw-armas’ by suspected NPA rebel

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 4): Police foil ‘agaw-armas’ by suspected NPA rebel

Philippine National Police personnel in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, foiled an attempt by an alleged member of the rebel New People’s Army to grab the high-powered service firearm of a policeman deployed at a public cemetery at about 12:20 p.m. Sunday.

The incident happened as people were flocking to the cemeteries for the celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Saturday and Sunday.

The suspect was identified as Jeffrey Gonzaga, 27, single and a resident of Sitio Kantayson, Barangay Maniak in Guihulngan City.

Initial investigation showed that Gonzaga approached PO1 Jose Gabriel Cubo Villegas and wrested from him his issued M-16 armalite rifle.

However, Gonzaga failed because Villegas held on tightly to it and this resulted in a scuffle.

Three other policemen also detailed at the Hilaitan cemetery came to the rescue of Villegas and arrested the suspect, Sr. Insp. Rogelio Pacificar, OIC police chief of Guihulngan, said.

The policemen recovered from Gonzaga a grenade and a long bolo.

Gonzaga, who had the letters “BHB” tattooed on his left hand, admitted to be a member of the NPA out on a mission with some companions to conduct “agaw armas” at the height of the holidays, Pacificar said.

Sr. Supt. Natuel said BHB stands for Bagong Hukbong Bayan of the NPA.

 Pacificar said Gonzaga admitted in a police investigation that he and his companions had plotted since Thursday to grab firearms from policemen deployed at the cemeteries.

Gonzaga also said further that he was told by his superiors that if he succeeded, the firearm seized will be issued to him, Pacificar added.

Gonzaga was presented at the Regional Trial Court Branch 64 in Guihulngan City on Monday for inquest after the police filed a complaint against him for illegal possession of an explosive under Republic Act 9516 and for illegal possession of a deadly weapon under Batas Pambansa Blg. 6.

Meanwhile, Sr. Supt. Natuel directed Sr. Insp. Pacificar to submit a full report on the incident to determine whether Villegas was liable for negligence or similar offense, for the attempt of the suspect to seize his firearm.

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