A MASSIVE hot pursuit operation launched by the Pampanga Police Provincial Office against the gunmen who killed two local anti-narcotics agents on Saturday morning led in the capture of three suspects and the killing of another in a gunbattle, Philippine National Police chief, General Rodolfo S Azurin Jr. said yesterday.
The top cop said that suspects Junjun Baluyut,44; Aries Bagsic,40; and Leslie Placente,30, were arrested around 3:30 a.m. Saturday along South Daang Bakal Road in Barangay Dau, Mabalacat City against them at City Prosecutor’s Office.
The 4th was killed in a shootout with local policemen early morning Sunday. A chamber-loaded caliber .45 semi-automatic pistol with a magazine containing some live ammunition and a motorcycle were recovered from the slain suspect.
According to Gen. Azurin, the suspects were targeted by a hot pursuit operation following the killing of Police Senior Master Sergeant Sofronio Capitle Jr. and Staff Sgt. Dominador Gacusan Jr.
The two members of the Mabalacat City Police Station Drug Enforcement Unit were on a surveillance mission along South Daang Bakal Road around 3:45 a.m. Saturday when they were attacked by at least five motorcycle-riding gunmen.
Witnesses described the assassins as wearing bonnets and long sleeves. After firing at the two policemen, some of the suspects made sure they were dead by alighting from their motorbikes and pumping more bullets on them at pointblank range.
Both policemen died on the spot.
Gen. Azurin said that the three arrested suspects were apprised of their constitutional rights following their arrest. They will be facing criminal charges for double murder.
“I already gave my order to RD, PRO 3 to supervise the conduct of thorough investigation and pursuit operation to arrest those who were involved on this murder case that led to death of our two PNP personnel,” the PNP chief said.
The PRO3 headed by Brigadier Gen. Cesar DR Pasiwen are still conducting follow-up operations to identify and arrest the remaining suspects, Gen. Azurin added.
He also led the 226,000-strong police force in offering prayers for the slain policemen and extolling their hard work.
“We express our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of PSMS Capitle and PSSg Gacusan. The entire PNP family grieves with their family and loved ones for losing a great son, a friend, and a public servant. Rest assured that PNP will provide all due assistance to our demised members,” Gen. Azurin said. By ALFRED DALIZON & BERNARD GALANG