A WANTED New People’s Army (NPA) was tracked down in his hiding place in Malibay, Pasay City, by the police on Friday dawn and engaged arresting officers in a gunfight, killing one cop and injuring another before he was killed by other responding policemen, Philippine National Police Officer-in-Charge (PNP-OIC) Lieutenant General Vicente D. Danao Jr. said yesterday.
The suspect with the alias “Ka Panggoy”, the subject of a non-bailable warrant of arrest for murder issued by a Masbate court, shot it out with the arresting team hitting Lt. Rogelio Walay and Staff Sergeant Nikki Codera.
However, Codera, who suffered gunshot wounds in the body, died while being taken to the San Juan de Dios Medical Center.
Walay has been reported to be already in a stable condition.
The alleged NPA member was killed on the spot during the clash. Police said that he is one of the suspects ordered arrested in connection with the killing on September 2, 2021, of Maxwelito Escarcha, a 44-year-old barangay kagawad of Bgy. Almero in Cataingan, Masbate.
At least 12 heavily-armed suspected NPA guerrillas armed with automatic rifles and pistols barged inside the kagawad’s house.
One of the suspects later shot the victim without provocation in the chest and abdomen before fleeing on foot.
The victim was reportedly killed for “helping” government troops in the area.
According to a National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) report, members of the Masbate 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company led by Lt. Codera sought the assistance of the Pasay City Police Station in serving the warrant of arrest against “Ka Panggoy”, who was found hiding in Bgy. 157 in the Malibay area.
At around 4:40 a.m. Friday, the Masbate police officers tried to serve the arrest warrant issued against the suspect by Judge Igmedio Fide of the Cataingan, Masbate Regional Trial Court Branch 49 only to be met with gunfire from the suspect.
“Our police personnel tried to serve the warrant peacefully, but the suspect was armed and was violent. Thus, the operating groups had to defend themselves. It is unfortunate that one of our comrades died while fulfilling his duty as a law enforcer. This is the risk that goes along with our job in ensuring a criminal-free and crime-free community,” Lt. Gen. Danao said as he led the entire force in mourning the death of SSgt. Codera.
Lt. Gen. Danao said that the slain cop will be given a hero’s burial as he assured the fallen officer’s family of the immediate release of all benefits and awards due him.
Maj. Gen. Natividad also said that the Metro Manila Police has joined the mourning over Codera’s “heroic” death.
“We mourn over the death of a brave police officer who was shot by an armed suspect during a law enforcement operation. It is very unfortunate that the police operation intended to arrest a wanted person accused of murder has resulted in a bloody shootout,” he said.