WPD cops, NBI agent in Pandacan gunfight: 3 die

- Mike Frialde -
What was supposed to be a routine police check became bloody after elements of the Western Police District-Mobile Patrol Unit (WPD-MPU) and an alleged confidential agent of the National Bureau of Investigation exchanged gunshots in Pandacan, Manila, early yesterday morning.

Killed in the incident were Police Officer 2 Allan Herrera, of the WPD-MPU; alleged NBI confidential agent Cosain Bacaraman, married, 39, of 1508-C G. Tuazon St., Sampaloc, Manila. Also killed was Bacaraman’s female companion, Ailyn Iguban, 39, married, a Customs broker, of Phase 5, Block 10, Lot 34, Australia St., Southville Subdivision, Biñan, Laguna.

Herrera and Police Inspector Jay Baybayan, also of the WPD-MPU, who was wounded in the gunfight, were on patrol along Quirino Avenue at about 12:15 a.m. aboard prowl car 239 when they spotted Bacaraman’s green Honda CRV without license plates at the corner of Canonigo Street, the police report said.

The suspicious policemen tried to flag-down Bacaraman’s vehicle to conduct a routine inspection. However, according to the report, instead of stopping, Bacaraman allegedly sped off, prompting the officers to give chase.

The policemen chased the CRV and forced it to a stop along Zamora Street in front of house number 1620.

According to the police report, Herrera and Baybayan alighted from their squad car and approached Bacaraman’s vehicle. While the two policemen were inspecting Bacaraman’s driver’s license and NBI identification card, several shots were allegedly fired from inside the vehicle. Herrera and Baybayan, though wounded, managed to return fire.

Homicide investigators said close examination of Iguban’s body showed that she had been shot at close range, based on marks found on the gunshot wound in her left chest. Bacaraman sustained five gunshot wounds in various parts of his body.

Baybayan was taken to the Chinese General Hospital for a bullet wound in the arm while Herrera later died at the Philippine General Hospital where he was rushed for treatment of a bullet wound in the chest. The service firearms of the two policemen were also subjected to a ballistics examination as homicide investigators started a probe of the incident.

Earlier Friday, the NBI announced it was weeding out abusive confidential agents.

NBI Director Reynaldo Wycoco has ordered all bureau units to closely monitor the activities of confidential agents and not hesitate to remove them if they are found to be abusive.

Confidential agents are professionals and businessmen recruited by NBI agents to act as informants. According to an NBI insider, confidential agents do not receive any compensation from the bureau but are issued badges similar to those issued to regular agents.

Though guns are not issued to them, confidential agents who own guns can be issued mission orders so they can carry their guns outside their homes. Confidential agents are under the direct supervision of the agents who recruited them and are deemed co-terminus with the incumbent NBI director.

According to the NBI insider, a total of 44 confidential agents have had their appointments cancelled for committing alleged abuses and infractions.

It will be recalled that Wycoco, upon assumption as NBI chief in January 2001, ordered the revocation of all appointments of confidential agents. The program was, however, later revived due to lack of manpower.

"We felt the need to revive the program as we lacked agents. Confidential agents do not investigate but they support investigating agents by gathering the needed intelligence. With the new recruitment, we now make sure that the candidates pass through a strict screening procedure and are trained for the job before being given appointments," said Wycoco.

According to Wycoco, unlike regular agents who are trained for at least a month, confidential agents only undergo basic intelligence gathering training for 17 days.












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