BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Police in the Cordillera region denied one of their outposts in Benguet province had been raided by the New People’s Army, choosing to describe the incident as a holdup because the rebels are supposedly “non-existent.”
Hours after the Jessica Carino Command of the New People’s Army in Benguet emailed a statement on the raid mounted by one of its units on the police substation in Barangay Loo, Buguias town, the Police Regional Office-Cordillera emailed its own statement condemning what it called a “robbery with intimidation” that victimized one officer and two village watchmen.
“The Police Regional Office-Cordillera strongly condemns the unfortunate incident involving our policemen and 2 BPAT (Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team) members who were merely implementing municipal ordinances in the area and refutes the news published by the Jennifer Cariño Command New People’s Army-Benguet, which has long been believed to be a non-existent group based on the joint AFP-PNP (Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police) Intelligence Committee,” the email said.
The spot report on the incident from the Buguias police said Senior Police Officer 1 Leonardo Calos and the two watchmen were disarmed and robbed by four unidentified armed suspects onboard a passenger van.
The gunmen took Calos’ 9mm service pistol, four loaded magazines, his wallet with P15,000 in cash and various identification cards, the report said.
No one was harmed in the incident.
In its earlier statement, the NPA command called the raid on the outpost a “punitive action” for alleged “crimes committed … against the people and the revolutionary movement,” including the torture and murder of their comrade Antonio Licawen in 2005, the detention and torture of young hitchhikers after a rebel raid in 2006, and other abuses such as extortion from motorists and localbusinessmen.
“The Buguias police force are also involved in the sale of illegal drugs and other anti-social activities such as the operation of bars,” the rebels claimed.