By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. on Tuesday ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to review its policies and processes in the issuance of firearms and the license to carry these outside of one’s residence.
The order came in the wake of the ambush in Nueva Vizcaya that killed Aparri, Cagayan Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda and his companions John Duane Alameda, Abraham Ramos Jr., Ismael Nanay, Alexander delos Angeles and Alvin Abel.
The six were aboard a black Hyundai Starex van when a group of six masked individuals in police uniforms gunned them down at around 8:45 a.m. Sunday in Sitio Kinacao in Nueva Vizcaya’s Bagabag town.
Abalos also asked the PNP to intensify its ‘Oplan Katok’ or visits to the homes of firearms holders for them to surrender their firearms that have unregistered or expired licenses.
“Magsasagawa rin ng mas madalas na pagpapatrolya sa mga lansangan upang magdalawang-isip ang mga masasamang-loob na isakatuparan ang kanilang masamang balak (Patrols must also be done more frequently so that criminal elements would think twice before carrying out their evil schemes),” Abalos said in a statement.
The DILG chief also ordered the PNP to boost its crackdown against the illegal sale of police uniforms.
He said the PNP must ensure that only accredited suppliers are allowed to sell and only legitimate police officers are using these items.
“Ipinapaabot po namin ang aming pakikiramay sa naulilang pamilya ni Vice Mayor Alameda at ng kanyang mga kasama. Makakaasa ang mga kaanak at pamilya ng mga biktima na tututukan ng kapulisan ang kaso at gagawin ang lahat para manaig ang hustisya (We extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved family of Vice Mayor Alameda and his men. The relatives and family of the victims are assured that the police will focus on the case and will do everything so justice may prevail),’’ Abalos said in a statement.
Abalos said that a special investigation task force of the Police Regional Office 2 (Cagayan Valley) is now conducting an extensive probe to identify and arrest the perpetrators of the crime.
“The DILG stands firm that it will continue to protect the Filipino people towards a more peaceful and safer Philippines. We must not let violence prevail. Let’s work together for the sake of our country’s peace,” Abalos said.
Three angles seen
Meanwhile, PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said they are looking into politics, business and personal grudge as possible motives for the crime.
He said part of the investigation is to determine if the perpetrators are indeed policemen as witnesses said they were wearing police uniforms when they blocked a road in Bagabag town and eventually fired at the vehicle of Alameda.
“We are still determining if the perpetrators are really in the PNP service because apparently, they were using police uniforms. If they are indeed policemen, we will continue pursuing the investigation and we will apply the full force of the law. The use of PNP uniform, that’s uncalled for because they are tainting the image of the uniformed services, especially of the police organization. So we encourage the support of the community for any lead that could help solve and give justice to the vice mayor and the other victims,” he added.
Col. Jean Fajardo, PNP spokesperson, said local investigators were able to lift some numbers in the chassis number of the vehicle which was found burned in Nueva Vizcaya hours after the incident.
“Based on the initial finding of the forensic group in Nueva Vizcaya, it appears that the chassis number and the engine number of the burned Mitsubishi Adventure had been tampered and defaced, however the Highway Patrol Group in Nueva Vizcaya was able to lift some chassis number. This is now the focus of investigation, we already coordinated with the Land Transportation Office, we already have the name of the registered owner and the Special Investigation Task Group is now coordinating with the other local police to find the location of the registered owner,” she added.
For his part, PNP chief information officer Col. Redrico Maranan said they have already coordinated with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and it was found out that the government plate that was seen attached to the vehicle was registered to a vehicle currently impounded at the Nueva Vizcaya State University. (PNA)