Police killers nabbed by Oplan Branstark

A combined Army/PNP striking force nabbed two of the alleged plotters of the  executionof four police officers in Ayungon which precipitated the string of apparent vendetta killings that resulted to at least 18 people dead within the span of two weeks.

“Oplan Branstark” was launched last July 24, 2019 at 1:00 o’clock dawn to track and neutralize the suspects in the brutal killing of four 704th MFC personnel last July 18,2019 in Sitio Yamot, Barangay Mabato, Ayungon.

After eight days of tactical operation following the killing of four policemen assigned with the regional mobile force battalion-7, the troops had one encounter and four separate arrests of suspected members of the armed group of the New Peoples Army, two of whom were suspected to be involved in the brutal killing of the policemen who were on intel gathering.

Oplan Branstark was composed of one PNP striking force, one Scout Platoon of the 94th IB of the Philippine Army, one Special Action Force (SAF) platoon, and backup forces coming from the 704th MFC, RMFB7 and 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company of the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NORPPO), with the command headquarters in Ayungon, Negros Oriental.

A consolidated accomplishment report of the joint tactical operation in the complex mountain areas of Ayungon, Mabinay and Bindoy, Negros Oriental resulted in the encounter of one section of Bravo Company of the 94th IB led by 1Lt Israel in Barangay Carol-an, Ayungon on July 26, 2019.  This led to the apprehension of a certain Onie Bangala, 37, single and Nerie Boy Bangala, 25, married both residents of sitio Inasan, Carol-an, Ayungon.

During the court of a tactical interview, Nerie Boy Bangala ran towards the northwest direction leaving Onie Bangala.

Recovered from their position were the following: one homemade shotgun with magazine, two caliber 38 revolvers with five live ammunitions, one 7.62 mm live ammo, 18 ammunition for 7.62 mm, 20 empty shells for 7.62 mm, 192 empty shells for armalite rifle, 20 surgitech, five 5ml syringe, two knives, three petronic gasul, three plasters, five meters electronic wire, one wallet with photos, one camel bag and one rifle grenade.

The suspects were turned over to the Ayungon police for filing appropriate charges in court.

On July 29, 2019, the striking force of RMFB7 while on combat operation encountered an undetermined number of communist terrorists at Sitio Talaptapan, barangay Nalundan, Bindoy, Negros Oriental. A 20-minute firefight ensued after which the enemy withdrew towards the northern direction. No casualties were reported.

After the clearing operation conducted by the striking force of RMFB7, they were able to arrest one member of the communist terrorist group identified as Epifanio Cabusog Romano, of legal age, widower, farmer, and a resident of Sitio Sook Brgy Mabato, Ayungon.

Confiscated from him were a bandolier colored black and a rifle grenade. He was later turned over to the Bindoy Police for proper filing of charges.

The regional police office disclosed that while the encounter was going on, the 704th MFC, the 2nd PMFC and 94th IB conducted a blocking force in nearby areas. One platoon of 704th conducted a check point in sitio Yamot, Mabato, Ayungon and arrested two armed persons believed to have evaded the ongoing encounter in Nalundan, Bindoy.

Further investigations disclosed that  the two have participated in the brutal murder of the four PNP personnel.

The two were identified as Rico Oracoy y Cadelina, 39, married, farmer and resident of sitio Yamot, Mabato, Ayungon, and Lito Cadusale y Anadon, 51 years old, married, farmer, resident of same place.

Confiscated from them were two caliber 38 revolvers with ten live ammunition, one rifle grenade, two improvised explosive device, one piece black bandolier, one eco bag and one plastic bag.

They were turned over to the Ayungon police station for proper filing of charges in court.

At present, the PNP striking force and blocking forces had withdrawn from the operation area for debriefing of the said tactical operation, the PRO7 report said.jrg