One involved in the killing of 3 cops

CRIME GROUP DISMANTLING.Police Regional Director, B/Gen. Reynaldo Pawid, disclosed that they are hunting down four crime groups in Samar. One of these groups, the Ampoan Group, was responsible in the killing of three cops and the wounding of four others as they engaged the police in a shootout in Sta.Rita,Samar on January 30.(PHOTO COURTESY)

TACLOBAN CITY—The police regional director in Eastern Visayas reported that at least four criminal armed groups in Samar province are the subjects of their operations.

These armed groups, which are engaged in contract killings and have outstanding warrants of arrest, include those responsible for the killing of three police officers in Sta. Margarita, Samar during a shootout on January 30, which also wounded four other cops, B/Gen. Reynaldo Pawid, the police regional director, said in an interview on Monday (Feb. 12).
“Our operation continues without letup. But we are appealing to the public to help the police force in our operation, especially if they know these persons who are notorious criminals, armed and dangerous,” Pawid said.

The manhunt being conducted by the police organizations operating in Samar province came about amid the shooting incident in Barangay Mahayag last January 30 involving police personnel and members of the Ampoan Group.

The police personnel, belonging to the 1st Samar Police Mobile Force and the Regional Mobile Force Battalion, were in the village, 15 km away from the town proper of Sta. Margarita, to serve warrants against the three members of the Ampoan Group, namely Edito Ampoan, the leader of the group, and his members Jojo Altarejos and Rogelio Macurol.

The three were accused of killing Tiburcio Ocong, barangay chairman of Bislig, Gandara town, also in Samar, on October 23, 2015.

The shootout resulted in the death of Staff Sergeant Christian Tallo; Corporal Eliazar Estrelles Jr.; and Master Sgt. Paul Terence Paclibar. Wounded were Cpl. Rannel Pedamato; Cpl. Mark Jason Sixta; and Patrolmen Ham Kritnere Capalis and Mark Redoblado.

B/Gen. Pawid said that seven of their members, who were arrested during that fateful day, were already charged with multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder, and multiple attempted murder before a regional court in Sta. Margarita a day after the incident. However, the subjects of their operation, Ampoan, Altarejos, and Macurol, remain at large. All three were also included in the charge sheet filed by the police.

But Pawid said that they would not stop until all members of the Ampoan group and the three other criminal groups, whom he did not name, are arrested and brought to court. “How can we give justice to their victims if they will not be arrested? That is why we need the support of the public,” the Police Regional Director said. “But we are giving you our assurance that our operations against these criminal groups will continue,” Pawid added.

According to their information, the four criminal groups have a combined membership of about 30 who are moving to different areas in Samar to evade arrest. Pawid, however, declined to say if these crime groups are being supported by local politicians. “We are investigating that,” Pawid said.

Meantime, Pawid said that they have learned some lessons from that incident, saying that before any operations could be launched, they should first familiarize themselves with the terrain or place where the target lives or hides.

It was learned that the houses where the three subjects of the arrest and their other members have foxholes.(JOEY A. GABIETA)