A POLICE officer remains missing on Saturday while two civilian agents died after the motorized boat they were riding capsized in the middle of heavy waves brought about by Typhoon “Marce” off the waters of a remote village in Langonoy, Camarines Sur.
Senior Supt. Walfredo Pornillos, Camarines Sur Provincial Police Office director, identified the fatalities as Tomas Rentoy 4th and Isagani Dadis.
Senior Police Officer 4 Edwin Pago remained missing and has been the subject of a search and rescue operation ongoing since Saturday morning.
They were part of the 11-man team of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camarines Sur, led by Chief Insp. Ronnie Pabia, and the Provincial Intelligence Bureau (PIB) who were going to Garchitorena town for a drug-related operation.
Pabia said they left Tamban pier in Tinambac town, at about 9 a.m. on Friday for their destination on board a motorized boat. About 30 minutes later, upon reaching the part of Lagonoy Gulf within the jurisdiction of Barangay Mapid in Lagonoy town, their motorboat was battered by tall waves and strong winds.
Pornilllos said the Langonoy Municipal Police Station was conducting further investigation to determine the identities of the other police personnel.
Initial investigation revealed that among the group on board the boat only Pabia, Rentoy and another police officer were wearing life jackets.
Pabia said that Rentoy did not know how to swim and he assisted him to get to shore.
However, a series of huge waves caused Rentoy to be separated from him and eventually disappeared from view. He was later found dead at a rocky portion a few meters from the shore. Pabia also suffered minor injuries and collapsed near the shore.
It was not immediately known how Dadis – also reported dead – was found.
The CIDG officer blamed human error and the unpredictable weather for the mishap.
“We usually receive weather advice on our cellphone. That day, we didn’t and at the Tamban pier in Tinambac town, there were passengers coming and going, even children going to school, so we thought it was just a normal day,” Pabia said.
He added that they were also assured of the seaworthiness of the boat they rented by one of its crew whom he also asked to coordinate with the Coast Guard stationed at the pier for advice.
Their trouble began thirty minutes after they left the pier when they reached the part of the Lagonoy Gulf in the Pacific Ocean called by the local fishermen as “padi-padi” for the towering white waves in the area.
“Suddenly, a four-feet high wave overturned our boat and threw all those off board, including the three crew members,” he narrated.
The officer could not recall how he survived the chubasco or gust of wind.
All he could remembered, he said, was asking the residents of Barangay Mapid where eight of them were able to swim ashore, to help his men who were still on the water.
WITH ANTHONY VARGAS