The four cop victims were killed on July 18, 2019, in Barangay Mabato, Ayungon, Negros Oriental. About a week after that, the capture of NPA suspects was made. There have been two separate arrests of NPA members suspected to have killed the four cops in Ayungon. Two suspects were arrested in Ayungon, Negros Oriental. The other three were arrested in Badian, Cebu.
2 Suspects Arrested in Ayungon
According to the police report, there were four members of the Communist Party of the Philippine People’s Army (NPA) who were arrested. Two of them are suspected to be part of the killing of the four policemen in Ayungon. Government troops captured Onie Bangala, 37, of Sitio Inasan, Barangay Carol-an, Ayungon; and farmers Epifanio Cabusog Romano; Rico Oracoy, 39; and Lito Cadusale; all of Barangay Mabato, Ayungon.
Onie Bangala was captured along with another suspect, Nerie Boy Bangala (25 years old) on July 26, 2019. However, Nerie Boy managed to escape while Onie was being questioned. Recovered from the suspects are possession of a homemade shotgun with magazine, two caliber .38 revolvers with five live ammunition, a 7.62 mm live ammunition, 18 ammunition for 7.62 mm, 20 empty shells for 7.62 mm, 192 empty shells for M16 Armalite rifle, five 5ml syringes, two knives and a rifle grenade, among other items.
Epifanio Cabusog Romano on the other hand was arrested on July 29, 2019 after an encounter with a group of alleged NPA members in Sitio Talaptapan, Barangay Nalundan, Bindoy where a 20-minute firefight ensued. Romano yielded a black bandolier and a rifle grenade. He was later turned over to the Bindoy Police for proper filing of charges.
3 Suspects Captured in Cebu
Members of the 2nd Police Mobile Force Company (PMFC) and personnel of the Badian Police Station arrested three men after arriving in the southern town of Badian, Cebu. They arrested the three while responding to a report from concerned civilians that armed men arrived in Badian on board a pump boat from Negros Oriental. The suspects identified themselves as Ronnie Herebias, Danny Harold Tancinco, and Marlon Basalo.
“Niangkon na man ni sila kung kinsa ni sila, tapos nianhi daw sila kay init na kaayo sa Ayungon kay daghan na kaayo ang operation ug daghan na ang nangadakpan didto. Mao nang nanganhi daw sila diri para pagpahulay (They already confessed who they are. They said they decided to come here because authorities were running after them in Ayungon. Many had been arrested there already, so they decided to come here and rest),” Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Chief Debold Sinas said.
The suspects were arrested at 1:00 p.m. after their banca docked in Lambug Beach, close to the area where the police were patrolling to verify the intelligence report. The three, who wore backpacks during the arrest, allegedly yielded firearms and explosives.
Recovered from Tancinco were a .38 caliber revolver with four live ammunition, two rifle grenades and some documents related to the NPA’s operations. Herebias and Basalo also yielded one .45 caliber firearm, one .38 revolver, 10 live ammunition, two 40MM M203 ammunition, a hand grenade and a tactical map.