PNP chief relieves entire police force of Lapinig, Northern Samar after NPA attack

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has relieved its top official in Eastern Visayas and all the members of a police station in Northern Samar that was raided by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) over the weekend.

The relief of all the entire members of the Lapinig Municipal Police Station in Norther Samar led by its commander Police Inspector Noli Montebon was ordered and announced by no less than PNP chief Director Oscar Albayalde.

“Based on the recommendations of the PNP Oversight Committee, it is quite unfortunate, but necessary for us to relieve all personnel of the Lapinig Municipal Police Station in Northern Samar, including their chief of police, Inspector Noli Montebon,” said Albayalde during a news briefing.

Aside from the members of the police station, Albayalde also announced the relief of Chief Supt. Mariel Magaway, Eastern Visayas regional police director; Senior Supt. Romeo Campomanes, Northern Samar provincial police director; and Chief Inspector Juan Byron Leogo, commander of the 2nd Northern Samar Provincial Mobile Force Company.

Albayalde said the relief of the police officials and all the members of the Lapinig police station was to give way to a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the raid that was carried out by at least 50 rebels.

The attack, which happened at around 2 a.m. on Friday, was first reported as a harassment by rebels on the municipal police station, although it was later confirmed that the station was taken over by the raiders who ransacked it, carting away firearms.

At that time, the station was only being manned by 6 policemen, despite an earlier report that the NPA has plans to attack it.

“There is also a need to emphasize our one-strike-policy against lackluster performance by our field commanders both in anti-criminality and internal security operations. This will serve as a warning as well as give more teeth to my earlier directive that this time we mean business not business as usual,” Albayalde said.

Meanwhile, the military said that 10 rebels have successively surrendered to the 730th Combat Group (730th CG) of the Philippine Air Force in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Maj. Engelberto Nioda Jr., commander of the 730th CG, said that eight of the 10 former rebels were members of Platoon Jupiter, while the other two were from Platoon Galaxy, both of the Sub- Regional Military Area (SRMA) 4C, of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC) that operates in Batangas and Cavite.

Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade that has operational jurisdiction over Calabarzon, said the surrender sends a message that the insurgency in Batangas is now on the verge of collapse.

“This is the result of the close coordination and collaboration between and among the security sector, government agencies, business entities, local government units and the general public,” he also said.

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Rene P. Acosta covers defense, law enforcement and national security for the paper. He had written for a number of publications, including abroad before he joined BusinessMirror. His works had appeared in the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Asia Pacific Defense Forum, both in the US. He took up regional security with the International Visitor Leadership Program, US. He is currently the chairman of the board of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines which he had headed in 2009.


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