At close range

NPAs approached patrol car to finish off cops in Bansalan: Soco report
AT LEAST one of the police officers killed in the New People’s Army ambush in Bansalan, Davao del Sur could have still been alive before he was finished off at close range, the Scene of the Crimes Operatives concluded.

Chief Insp. Nolan Genova, the medico-legal officer of the Regional Crime Laboratory Office (RCLO) who was part of the team that processed the crime scene in Barangay Sibayan, Bansalan, presented the report yesterday during the AFP-PNP press conference held at the clubhouse of the Police Regional Office XI.

Genova said the patrol car was descending on a slope toward the bridge. “The patrol car hit the railing of the bridge and the (NPA) was positioned on the left side portion from the high ground.”

They recovered three M14 cartridges from the cadaver of PO3 Jeden Mei Rabor. Genova said the body might have been moved.

“PO1 Saro Mangotara was sitting at the back and he might still be alive when dragged down,” he said. (The officer) was made to sit down before shot.”

Genova said they could not find any bloodstains on passenger cab of the patrol car, which means Mangotara was still alive.

The four police officers killed in the New People’s Army ambush in Bansalan, Davao del Sur sustained a total of 31 gunshot wounds.

Initial investigation showed that at around 6:30 a.m. of March 8, the Soco-Davao del Sur received a request regarding a shooting incident in the barangay. They joined the patrol car of the Bansalan Municipal Police Station.

While the team was on its way to the area, they were fired by undetermined number of New People’s Army (NPA). Four cops and one Soco member were killed on site. Another member of Soco was wounded.

The investigator added that they found 65 cartridges from M14 and M16 at the crime scene, which means the rebels approached the vehicles at close range and fired. They also found cartridges from the position of the rebels on higher ground. Ballistics concluded that they came from the same guns.

There are M14 cartridges found near the feet of PO3 Rabor .

He also said that they didn’t recover any empty shell coming from the firearms of the police officers, which means they did not have the opportunity to fire back.  On the right portion of the patrol car, they were able to recover improvised explosive device that did not explode that was allegedly thrown by the rebel group.

Based on their investigation, PO1 Rholly Benelayo (driver) died from a gunshot wound that entered through the back of his head. He had six gunshot wounds.

PO1 Joey Narvasa sustained fatal injuries to the abdomen and upper torso. He died from a total of eight gunshot wounds.

PO1 Saro S. Mangotara sustained gunshot wounds to the neck, chest and both lower extremities, with six total gunshot wounds.

PO3 Jaden Mei Rabor (SOCO personnel) sustained gunshot wound to the head, back and both upper extremities. Rabor succumbed to a total of 11 gunshot wounds.

They were able to recover from the crime scene one IED, 33 pieces of M14 fired cartridges, 23 from 5.56mm, two from 7.62 fired bullet, one M16 fired bullet, metallic fragment.

The M16 rifle of PO1 Benelayo , M16 of PO1 Narvasa, 9mm Glock pistol of PO1 Mangotara and PO3 Rabor and medical  kits of the Socor where reported missing or damaged.

The report contradicted the NPA’s own version, which claimed that the police officers fired back,” the NPA statement signed by Rigoberto F. Sanchez, spokesperson of NPA-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command.

“The PNP personnel, however, retaliated with numerous return of fire,” it added. “A wounded police officer jumped off from the vehicle. It took ten minutes of an exchange of fire before the NPA squad succeeded in subduing the PNP unit before cautiously approaching the PNP mobile vehicle to seize two M16 rifles and two 9mm glock pistols.”

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