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Suspects in Aparri vice mayor ambush reportedly wore police uniforms —PNP

The suspects in the ambush that killed Aparri, Cagayan Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda and five others in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya were reportedly wearing police uniforms, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Monday.

“Base po sa report na ating natanggap, yung mga suspek po ay naka-pixelized uniform (Based on the report that we received, the suspects were in pixelized uniform),” PNP public information officer (PIO) chief Police Colonel Redrico Maranan told reporters.

Due to this, Maranan said PNP chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. ordered police officials to boost its campaign on the use of their uniforms.

He added that Azurin also called on sellers of PNP uniforms to check IDs of buyers. The PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group has also been tasked to go after people who are selling PNP uniforms online, according to Maranan.

He also reminded the public that it is against the law for civilians to wear PNP uniforms. 

In a statement on Sunday, Police Regional Office 2 (PRO2) Public Information said PRO2 chief Police Brigadier General Percival Rumbaoa confirmed that the suspects were not members of the PNP.

Alameda and five others were killed when their van was ambushed by gunmen in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya on Sunday.

Other victims were identified as Alexander Agustin Delos Angeles, Alvin Dela Cruz Abel, Abraham Dela Cruz Ramos, John Duane Banag Almeda, and Ismael Nanay.

An initial investigation showed the victims were aboard a Starex van on the way to Manila when more or less six suspects fired at them, police said.

Maranan said Azurin has already ordered the PNP to intensify its preventive security measures.

“Maglatag tayo ng mga checkpoint, patuloy ang ating pag-iimplement ng warrants of arrest at search warrants sa mga loose firearms, lalo na po sa ating Highway Patrol Group, paigtingin nating ang ating anti-carnapping operation,” he said.

(We should set up checkpoints, continue the implementation of arrest warrants and search warrants against loose firearms, especially our Highway Patrol Group. Let’s intensify our anti-carnapping operations.)

PNP spokesperson Police Colonel Jean Fajardo on Monday said the vehicle possibly used by the perpetrators in the ambush was found burned in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya.

The police are now checking the registration number of the vehicle to identify its owner, Fajardo added.

Maranan said the plate that was displayed on the getaway vehicle was issued to a broken vehicle currently at the compound of Nueva Vizcaya State University. 

Meanwhile, the Vice Mayors' League of the Philippines (VMLP)-Cagayan condemned the killings and sought justice for the victims.

“Sa mga tao po, kung may nakasaksi man sa pangyayari na 'yun. Sana wag po silang matakot na makipag-ugnayan sa kapulisan. Para naman po mabigyan ng hustisya... itong pangyayari kay Vice Mayor Alameda at kaniyang mga kasama,” said VLMP-Cagayan President Bienvenido de Guzman.

(To anyone who may have witnessed the incident, I hope they will not get scared of coordinating with the police. Vice Mayor Alameda and the other victims should be given justice.)—VAL/ GMA Integrated News