CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Authorities are probing an attack on a police checkpoint that wounded two officers in Barangay Cabuluhan, Cabanglasan town, Bukidnon, on the night of June 1.
Major Eddie Boy Manalo, chief of the Cabanglasan town police, said Tuesday investigation has already been conducted to identify the two still unknown perpetrators on board a motorcycle that lobbed an explosive at law enforcers.
Manalo said the attackers drove by the checkpoint and threw an explosive towards Staff Sergeant Junmark Suico and Patrolman Alvin Claunan, who were taking a rest after their guard shift ended.
Other police officers guarding the checkpoint managed to fire back at the attackers who sped off towards Barangay Mandaing in Cabanglasan.
The police chief said Suico and Calunan are recovering. “Their injuries are not that severe,” he said on a phone interview.
Manalo said their Explosive Ordnance Disposal is still investigating if the weapon thrown at the police officers was a grenade or some other explosive device.
The officer said they are also determining if the attackers are members of the New People’s Army (NPA) or of other armed groups operating in the area.
But he said it is likely that the NPA have carried out the attack as the presence of the military and law enforcement have curtailed their movements in Bukidnon.
Meanwhile, the NPA has denied that it had a hand in the burning of a chapel and four houses in Barangay Limonda, Opol town, Misamis Oriental on May 28.
In a statement the group posted on the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) website on May 31, the NPA-Misamis Oriental command said it is “not responsible for the reported torching” contrary to report in local newspapers and online news sites.
“Military reports claim that shouts of ‘Mabuhay ang NPA’ (long live the NPA) were heard after the torching. If this were true, then it raises the suspicion that the arson was the handiwork of AFP soldiers in the area,” the statement said.
It added: “We would like to assure the people of Opol and Misamis Oriental that the NPA does not, and will not, destroy civilian infrastructure, especially places of worship. To the local news sites and newspapers, we would appreciate if this clarification be appended to the original story.”
In a previous interview, Maj. Evary Bacunawa, Opol municipal police chief, said they received information that the burning was carried out by members of the Ace company of the NPA’s sub-regional command 5 led by a certain alias “Decoy.”
Lt. Theofratus Pia, Misamis Oriental provincial police spokesperson, said that prior to this incident, government troops and NPA fighters figured in an encounter in Barangay Mainit, Iligan City.
According to Pia, he said it is probable that the retreating NPA burned down the church and houses as a distraction so they can’t be followed by their pursuers. (davaotoday.com)