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June 20, 2023 Alfred P. Dalizon 2871 views

Alfred DalizonMY family and I join fervent prayers for the immediate and full recovery of my friend and former basketball teammate, retired PNP chief, General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan or ‘Pikoy’ to friends who has been confined in a Metro Manila hospital and listed in critical condition on Monday.

I pray that the Lord Almighty will heal the 58-year old member of PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 who served as the 24th chief of the PNP for two months during the PRRD administration from September 2 to November 10, 2020.

‘Pikoy’ Cascolan has been a friend since his days as a police major until he rose to the top of the PNP. We played good basketball as members of the PNP Executive Basketball Team for so many years before our games was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his short stint as PNP chief, I got a call from one of his staff one evening. It turned out that during their meeting early in the morning, Gen. Cascolan told Lieutenant Colonel Ayn Natuel to see if I were ok. Ayn told me that the Chief thought I was sick when he saw me from a distance.

The next morning, I received a call from the Chief and assured him I’m strong as a horse. He laughed and told me we have to play basketball again when the situation permits. The last time we talked was when PBBM appointed him as a Health Undersecretary last October. I pray that the good general will be back to normal health as soon as possible. Let’s play basketball again Idol.


I also join prayers for our brave policemen who continue to risk their lives to keep our country safe and secure from all threats at the expense of their lives and limbs. Last June 14, two of them died while four were wounded after being attacked by unidentified gunmen in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao. On Sunday, a PNP Special Action Force commando was shot in the stomach while helping serve a search warrant issued against two top terror targets in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao del Sur.

Killed in the attack along a highway in Barangay Poblacion in Shariff Aguak municipality were Patrolmen Saipoden Shiek Macacuna and Bryan Polayagan while wounded were Pat. Pat Arjie Val Louie Pabinguit, Pat. Abdulgafor Alib, Staff Sergeant Benjie delos Reyes and Chief Master Sgt. Rey Vincent Gertos. All are members of the Maguindanao del Sur Provincial Mobile Force Company.

The policemen were on their way to their headquarters in Maguindanao del Sur after a routine patrol around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday last week when ambushed while on board a marked police vehicle.

Pat. Macacuna was shot twice on the left torso while Pat. Polayagan suffered three gunshot wounds on the right torso. Pabinguit was shot in his right leg, right forearm and left arm while Alib sustained a bullet wound on the left arm. Delos Reyes suffered gunshot wounds on his left thigh and left knee while Gertos was shot on his left jaw and face.

On the other hand, Corporal Artchen Echavia, a member of the 84th Special Action Company of the PNP-SAF’s 4th Special Action Battalion was shot in the stomach during a gunfight with a group of heavily-armed terrorists in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao del Sur around 2 a.m. last Sunday while left seven of the gunmen dead.

PNP-SAF director, Major Gen. Rod Dimas told me yesterday that the brave commando is set to be airlifted to a Davao City hospital for further treatment. It turned out that the serious wounds suffered by the SAF trooper prompted surgeons to remove one of his kidneys. That means he won’t be allowed to lift heavy weights anymore.

PNP chief, Gen. Benjie Acorda described last Sunday’s incident as a result of a counter-terror operation launched by the PNP-SAF, the CIDG, the PRO-BAR and the Philippine Army against an extremist group, in particular members of a local terrorist group operating under the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters or BIFF Karialan Group.

Three caliber .45 semi-automatic pistols, a home-made Uzi machine pistol and dozens of live ammunition and magazines were recovered from the suspects during the counter-terror raid in Barangay Dawawato in Datu Paglas municipality. The policemen were armed with a search warrant for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 issued by a local court when they raided the suspects’ place.

However, the lawmen were met with gunfire from the suspects who were holed up inside their house prompting the commandos to retaliate. The gunfight resulted in the killing of the subject of the search warrant identified as Nasser Yossef Hussain alias ‘Tutin Usop’ and Datdat Usop and their five cohorts.

As of press time, the MILF said it is set to lodge a complaint before the Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities against the PNP and the AFP in connection with the operation which the group described as a ‘rubout.’ The MILF also denied that the seven slain gunmen were members of the BIFF but instead described them as members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces of BIAF which is the military arm of the MILF.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority also passed a resolution condemning the incident and calling for an immediate and impartial probe. Here we go again. It’s the word of the PNP and the AFP against the word of the MILF. What is clear here is that there were seven terror suspects who are now being defended by the MILF as members of their military arm while a SAF commando fought for his life and lost one of his vital organs in the process.