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17 killed in shootout in Sucat area, Parañaque

December 5, 2008 11:45pm
(Updated 10:19 a.m., Dec. 6) MANILA, Philippines - At least 17 people, including a cop and three civilians, were killed in a shootout between police and members of two suspected robbery gangs in Parañaque City Friday night.

Officers were following the suspected robbers gang when the gunmen sensed the surveillance and opened fire, triggering the gunfight late Friday near a residential subdivision in suburban Sucat in Parañaque, metropolitan Manila police chief Leopoldo Bataoil said.

He said the gunmen, some armed with M-16 rifles fitted with grenade launchers, thought they had been cornered and fired at everyone in sight.

"When they found out they were being trailed ... they went berserk," he said. "They fired all around, including at a flammable tanker beside a warehouse."

Among those killed were 12 suspected members of the gang and a police officer. Five people nearby, including a man and his 7-year-old daughter who were sitting inside their car, were also killed.

Bataoil said the gang was linked to a series of armed robberies where the perpetrators wore police uniforms.

"Ito ang nagsusuot ng uniporme ng pulis at SWAT (These are the guys who pulled off robberies wearing police and SWAT uniforms)," he said.

Bataoil said the police are now looking for some of the robbers who escaped aboard a commandeered black Toyota Vios sedan (XTG-256).

Police have also started an investigation into claims that police may have shot dead the civilians in a case of mistaken identity.

The report said that of the 11 suspects who were killed, eight were aboard a maroon Toyota Revo utility vehicle (XJG-193) at United Parañaque Subdivision 4 (UPS-4) near West Service Road; and two aboard a motorcycle at Sucat Road. One died while being treated at a hospital.

Two more suspects aboard a motorcycle were killed in a service road encounter.

One of those slain was initially identified in the dzBB report as Ronel Campos, said to be a former member of the elite Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force.

At least four of the suspects were brought to PNP headquarters in Camp Crame for interrogation.

However, three other suspects escaped aboard a white vehicle and later commandeered a Toyota Vios in escaping.

Three civilians were also killed during the incident, including a truck helper; and civilians Alfonso de Vera and daughter Lea.

The de Veras were aboard an Isuzu Crosswind when shot. Director Bataoil ordered an investigation into whether police mistook the two for robbers.

Bataoil visited the relatives of the de Veras and promised a thorough investigation.

On the other hand, at least one policeman was shot dead while three others were wounded.

Bataoil identified the slain policeman as PO1 Nixon Benasoy.

He also said Sr. Supt. Eleuterio Gutierrez Jr., team leader of the PNP Highway Patrol Group's Special Operations Division, was critically wounded after being shot in the head.

Initial investigation showed the police prepared to intercept the robbers after receiving information the robbery gangs were to strike at Southern Transport at UPS-4.

Recovered from the suspects were rifle grenades and M-16 rifles, the report said.

Police said the 10 fatalities were alleged members of the Ozamis and Waray-Waray robbery gangs.

Earlier report said 10 of the suspects were clad in black police jackets.

The firefight between the gangs and police broke out on the West Service Road near the United Parañaque Subdivision 4 around 8:30 p.m. - GMANews.TV, with an AP report