THE Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday described a so-called drive-by shooting in San Pedro, Laguna as a “daring rescue attempt” by members of the dreaded Ozamis Group to take their recaptured leaders from the authorities.
The rescue try went awry that cost the lives of the two leaders of the Ozamis Group, Ricky “Kam-bal” Cadavero and Wilfredo “Kulot” Panolinga Jr. who reportedly pounced on their escorts’ guns but failed and were shot dead.
PNP Public Information Office chief, Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac said that the Ozamis Group has a known penchant of rescuing their leaders that have been arrested or in custody of the authorities.
However, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas 2nd appeared unconvinced about the report and ordered a thorough investigation to pinpoint lapses and likely culprits.
Roxas issued the order following the reported attempt by fellow Ozamis gang members to rescue their leaders from their escorts shortly after 6 p.m. on Monday.
“This is a daring attempt by Ozamis group to rescue their leaders . . . they have the notoriety of being rescued by their own people,” Sindac told reporters during a press briefing in Camp Crame on Tuesday afternoon.
He said that dragnet operations are being laid down by elements of the Southern Tagalog Police Office for the possible arrest of the suspects behind the alleged “rescue attempt.”
He also added that an investigation is now underway following allegations that the said incident resulting in the death of Cadavero and Panolinga was another “rub-out” case.
The PNP official said that PNP chief, Director General Alan Purisima has already directed the PNP Internal Affair Service (IAS) in Camp Crame to conduct its own probe and look into the circumstances behind the said incident.
“Let us wait for the result of investigation and the PNP chief has already made directives to the IAS to conduct own independent investigation on the incident,” Sindac said.
Cavite PNP reported that Cadavero and Panogalinga went through inquest proceedings on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives “in view of the hand guns and hand grenade found in their possession during their recapture in Cavite last Friday.”
At about 5:45 p.m. on Monday, the PNP team escorting Kambal and Kulot proceeded back to the PNP RSOG office in Calamba City. While in transit, police escorts noticed a motorcycle following their convoy.
The police convoy carrying the two-gang leaders was fired upon by motorcycle riding gunmen upon reaching Barangay San Antonio, San Pedro Laguna, the reports said.
The reports added that a commotion ensued and the two gang leaders tried to grab the firearms of their police escorts, prompting the other police escorts two shoot Cadavero and Panoligan. Both died while on the way to a hospital.
Cadavero and Panogalinga were two of the four recaptured convicts earlier presented to Roxas and PNP chief Alan Purisima at the PNP headquarters on Monday. The two others suspects were Chinese drug traffickers Li Lan Yan, alias Jackson Dy and Wa Ling Na.
Roxas had earlier ordered the PNP and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to look into the “miraculous” escape of some high-profile criminals, including Cadavero, from state prisons.
The PNP recaptured Cadavero in Dasmariñas City, Cavite, on Friday, seven months after he bolted the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.