From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 5, 2019): First batch of SAF troops now in NegOr: PNP
PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac. (File photo)
The first batch of Special Action Force (SAF) troops assigned to help the local police in anti-criminality and internal security operations, following the spate of killings in Negros Oriental, has arrived in the province.
“A part of the SAF contingent is already there, that is one company or around 60 to 80 members. They are now in Negros Oriental and additional troops will be deployed,” Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac told reporters in a press conference in Camp Crame on Monday.
Banac said the PNP maintains its stand that placing the said province under martial law is not necessary.
"On the part of the PNP, we continue our enforcement of the law as well as maintenance of peace and order. For now, everything is going back to normal, including the situation in Negros Oriental. Our police officers continue to secure the area but assessment of the local executives may say otherwise,” Banac said.
“For now, we cannot say or recommend the declaration of martial law because we know that we are in control of the situation. The assessment of the political leaders there, though, maybe different. We are just basing everything on our data and based on this, we are in control of the situation," he added.
Banac said PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde awaits for the report from the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) which conducted an investigation on the killings.
Meanwhile, six members of the communist rebels, who were allegedly involved in the killing of the four cops in Ayungon in Negros Oriental, have been arrested.
Those arrested were identified as Victoriano Bangala Anadon Jr., Edmar Acibo Amaro, Jojo Torres Ogatis, Danny Harold Tancinco, Ronnie Herebias and Marlon Basalo.
According to sacked Negros Oriental Police chief Colonel Raul Tacaca, Anadon was arrested in the said town on July 19, a day after Police Corporal Relebert Beronio, Patrolman Raffy Callao, Patrolman Ruel Cabellon, and Patrolman Marquino de Leon were tortured and killed in front of the residents in Barangay Mabato.
Anadon was among the six identified persons, along with Jonathan Baldivino, Rengie Anadon Baluhabo, Gelie Anadon Ebedo, Joseph Torres Ogates, Jelly Anadon Ebedo who were charged of four counts of murder and theft in connection to the killing of the policemen.
The others implicated in the said charges were identified as John Does.
The charges stemmed from the information coming from the witnesses—the residents present during the killing.
On July 31, Tancinco, Herebias and Basalo were arrested after their motorized banca docked in Badian town in Cebu.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Chief Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas said the three, who admitted involvement in the execution of the policemen, went to Cebu to hide.
They were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives after they yielded .38 caliber revolver with four live ammunition, two rifle grenades one .45 caliber firearm, one .38 revolver, 10 live ammunition, two 40MM M203 ammunition and a hand grenade during their arrest.
On August 3, Ogatis and Amaro were arrested in a joint police-military operation in Sitio Yamot and Sitio Sook, both in Barangay Mabato, respectively.
Sinas said cases have already been filed and persons of interests have been identified in the recent series of shooting incidents.
“Just like in any other cases outside the province, crimes are committed, that’s why the police are investigating and gathering pieces of evidence for the filing of charges in court and that is what we are doing. I don’t know why the same is being presented as a very big crisis when the situation is very manageable on the point of view of the police,” he stressed.
While Sinas said there is nothing extraordinary in the shooting incidents in Negros Oriental, the recent spate of killings include the summary execution of the four policemen, the killing of ex-Ayungon Mayor Edsel Enardecido, the two Bayawa siblings, the killing of the barangay captains in Buenavista, Guihulngan City and Panubigan in Canlaon City, and that of Canlaon City Councilor Ramon Jalandoni.
He said police authorities are doing everything in responding to these situations, such as random checkpoints conducted, implementation of municipal and city ordinances, and the imposition of a curfew on minors, among others.