Police units and personnel on or off duty in Caraga region were ordered to observe high-level of security against possible abduction by armed partisans of the communist New People’s Army, according to Philippine National Police spokesperson Chief Supt Benigno Durana on Friday.
Durana said the Caraga Police Regional Office reiterated the warning after it uncovered plans by the CPP/NPA to take police hostages to pressure the government into declaring a Yuletide ceasefire coinciding with the 50th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26th.
Police Chief Supt. Gilbert Cruz, Caraga PNP Regional Director bared this plan by the CPP/NPA following the capture of three suspects believed to be drivers of “habal-habal” motorcycles used in the murder of SPO1 Reil M Morgado of Santiago Municipal Police Station in Agusan del Norte who was gunned down on the night of Dec. 13 in an apparent kidnap attempt.
Morgado was at home in Purok 4, Barangay Jagupit at 8:30 pm when he noticed some suspicious-looking men loitering around his house. When he went out to check, the suspects immediately fired at him from different directions. Badly woundled, he was able to return fire but later died due to multiple gunshot wounds.
The suspects sped off after taking away the victim’s government-issued firearm and some personal belongings,
An informant led police to nearby Purok 8 of Barangay Poblacion 1 where the police arrested three “habal-habal” drivers, believed to have driven the getaway motorcycles of the gunmen. Two Rusi 150cc. motorcycles allegedly used in the crime were also recovered.
The suspects, identified as Renato Caerleng, 34; Ryan James Caerleng, 18; and Riedel Cabello, 26, are presently undergoing investigation.
Durana said PNP Chief Director General Oscar D Albayalde extended his condolences to the orphaned family of SPO1 Morgado and assured them of government benefits given to uniformed personnel who die in the line of duty.
“SPO1 Morgado did not die in vain, because someone will take his place to accomplish the unfinished mission,” the Chief PNP said.
The Utrecht-based CPP leadership of Jose Ma. Sison has ordered its armed wing New People’s Army to escalate attacks on government and civilian targets in response to the Congressional approval of an extension of martial law in Mindanao until 2019.
Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philipopines Chief of Staff, Lt Gen. Benjamin Madrigal said the extension of martial law in Mindanao is warranted after NPA rebels threatened to conduct a nationwide offensive.
"Eh 'di all the more that we have a reason dun sa extension dahil dun sa ginagawa nilang pananakot 'di ba, (then we have more reasons to justify martial law extension based on their threats)," Madrigal told reporters Thursday.
Madrigal made the reaction after the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) threatened to conduct more offensives in response to the martial law extension in Mindanao until Dec. 31, 2019 in a bid to neutralize terror and other armed threats in the island.
The NPA, CPP's armed wing, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
Madrigal said troops are always on alert and have been ordered to take "proactive measures" to address rebel threats.
He added there is nothing new with the CPP order to intensify its offensives nationwide as it has been doing so even during declared unilateral ceasefires saying that the CPP does not have control over its forces on the ground. With PNA