MANILA — The nine wounded policemen in Monday’s misencounter with Philippine Army units in Sta. Rita, Samar have been declared medically stable, Philippine National Police chief (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde said Thursday.
“Out of the nine (policemen), na-discharge na yung dalawa sa ospital. Yung seven naman ay out of danger na, dineclare ng doktor nakausap po natin kahapon at nung isang araw (Out of the nine wounded policemen, two have been discharged while the seven are out of danger, according to the doctors we spoke with,” Albayalde said in a radio interview.
Albayalde said a national level Board of Inquiry separate from the military’s probe into the incident will consider among other questions whether the police unit was ambushed by the prepositioned military unit.
“Titingnan po talaga kung ambush o hindi. Ngunit makita po natin talaga siguro, nasa vantage position nga yung AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) kasi five to six days na po sila doon sa lugar at pumasok itong ating elements sa PNP headed by their company commander (We will determine whether there was an ambush. But we have already seen that the AFP is already in a vantage position because they were at the area for five to six days and then our PNP elements who were headed by their company commander entered),” Albayalde said.
The PNP chief added that a long standing common tactic of insurgents was the use of military and police uniforms to confuse government forces in case of encounters.
Albayalde said they will also look into lapses in coordination or to whether the controlling level was reached in the military and police’s notification of friendly troop maneuvers in the area.
He pointed out that even cellular phone signal in the area is poor.
“Tinitingnan natin kung bago sila nag jump off yung PNP, kung sila ba ay nakipag-coordinate. Ang sabi nila oo. Ang tinitingnan natin kung hanggang saan po nakarating yung coordination, kung talagang sila ay nakipag-coordinate, anong level ang coordination nila, yung din po ang tinitingnan natin. Bakit nagkaganun kasi kung talagang nakipag-coordinate po yan mula itaas pababa then most probably, nasabihan sila na may tao doon sa loob (We are looking if coordination was made and at what level and if it was relayed to the correct units),”Albayalde added.
In 1979, the municipality of Sta. Rita, situated northeast of Tacloban City, was the site of an ambush on a military unit by communist insurgents which resulted in the death of 2Lt. Tito Abat, a son of former Army chief and ambassador Maj. Gen. Fortunato Abat. Benjamin Pulta/PNA-northboundasia.com