MANILA - Six policemen were killed and 9 others were injured in an alleged misencounter between personnel of the Philippine Army and and the Philippine National Police (PNP) conducting patrols in Barangay Sta. Rosa, Villarreal, Samar on Monday.
According to Police Region 8 Director Chief Supt. Mariel Magaway, members of the police's 805th Regional Mobile Force Battalion were conducting combat patrol operations around 9:27 in the morning after they received reports that armed groups were lurking in the area.
"The Army were conducting operation dahil merong reported na armed groups doon sa bundok. Mga NPA [New People's Army]. They were conducting the operation for 5 days na. Bgy. Sta. Rosa, Villareal, Samar,” Magaway said.
“Itong [PNP] RPSB [Regional Public Safety Battalion] namin, nagko-conduct din, meron din kasi kaming minor combat operation na tinatanggap, nagko-conduct din sila roon. Nagkabiglaan, ganon ang nangyari, nagka-encounter,” he added.
According to Magaway, personnel of the Philippine Army 87th Infantry Battalion (87th IB) also made their rounds in the same area. The lack of coordination caused the misencounter.
Magaway said they are are still investigating the casualties on the side of the Philippine Army.
Initial investigation showed that the two groups were caught by surprise, which caused both to open fire against each other.
The Brigade Commander of the 87th IB of the Philippine Army is now under custody.
Magaway said they have formed a special investigation task group headed by the Samar Provincial Police Office who will investigate the incident.