PNP to secure Davao cop chief’s release

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will do its best to secure the release of the police chief of Gov. Generoso town in Davao Oriental, who was taken hostage by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, Malacañang said yesterday.

In an interview over government-run dzRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said he is not aware of the statement of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte about Chief Inspector Arnold Ongachen, but the government is standing by the statement of PNP officials.

Coloma said the government would try to rescue Ongachen before President Aquino steps down on June 30.

What the NPA did was against the law, he said.

Duterte had said he is leaving the fate of Ongachen to his NPA captors. He said he was told the police official was found in possession of illegal drugs and is involved in the illegal drug trade in Gov. Generoso.

It is up to the NPA to punish Ongachen through its “kangaroo court,” Duterte said.

In a statement, NPA spokesman Rigoberto Sanchez said they attacked the police station in response to the call of residents to punish protectors of illegal drugs in their municipality.

PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez on Friday said efforts are underway to rescue Ongachen.

“It is our responsibility to rescue our people if they are kidnapped,” Marquez said.

Release him

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said NPA rebels should release Ongachen.

“We demand the release of the chief of police. Number two, they should not do it again,” said Mayor.

“We are mandated to ensure the safety of the police officer. We owe it to his family to bring him back to them,” he added.

Mayor said an investigation would be conducted to determine if there were security lapses on the part of the Gov. Generoso police.

Superintendent Antonio Ibot, Davao Oriental police spokesman, said the attack at the police station at around 8 p.m. on Sunday left several policemen wounded and damaged government properties.

Ibot said the rebels also took a policewoman and a female civilian when they escaped after a two-hour gunfight.

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