SANTO TOMAS, Isabela: The Cagayan Valley Regional Police (CVRP) has ordered the investigation of three policemen accused by a survivor in a July 15 ambush that killed a village chief and three members of his family in what authorities earlier tagged as drug-related.
The town’s deputy police chief, Inspector Randy Tulinao, said he was surprised that three of his men were being implicated in the ambush but added that a probe is necessary to give justice to the victims.
The CVRP identified the three policemen linked to the ambush as Police Officer 3 Rogelio Cataggatan, PO1 Claramito Bibat and PO1 Arnie Agabin.
Killed were Cañogan Abajo Sur barangay (village) chairman Montano Zipagan, his daughter Joylyn Mabbayad, niece Jelane Zipagan and granddaughter Aira Shane Zipagan, after unidentified assailants flagged down their vehicle and sprayed them with bullets.
Zipagan’s wife Benita and one-year-old granddaughter, Therese Joy Mabbayad suffered gunshot wounds but survived.
Benita allegedly implicated the three policemen in the ambush staged along a rough road in an isolated cornfield in Cañogan Abajo Sur.
The victims’ car was blasted by bonnet-wearing assailants with an M-203 grenade and strafed them with M16, M14 and AK47 rifles and .45 caliber pistol.
The ambush happened after Zipagan, also chairman of the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council, submitted to the police the names of persons in his village allegedly involved in drugs.
LEANDER C. DOMINGO