Cops among shootout victims - PNP

MANILA, Philippines - A day after a shootout between a criminal gang and police, a police official said that at least 3 of the 13 alleged gang members killed were also members of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

On Monday, January 7, Senior Supt Val de Leon -- the police director of Quezon province where the shooting occurred -- said that the identification cards of the slain suspects revealed that at least 3 IDs were from the PNP.

While De Leon did not disclose all their names, Chief Supt James Melad, regional police director of Calabarzon, identified one of the slain policemen as Supt Alfredo Consamino.

Consamino is said to be a ranking official in the Mimaropa (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan) police office. The two other policemen are believed to be Gruet Mantuano and PO1 Jeffrey Valdez, also working at Mimaropa.

In a phone interview, Melad said the 3 slain policemen were in the vehicle with the alleged gang members that started firing at policemen.

"They were there at the shootout, the 3 policemen were in the car so we don't know what their involvement was but reports said they had firearms with them. When they got to the checkpoint, instead of submitting their firearms, they fired at our policemen," Melad said in Filipino.

On Sunday afternoon, January 6, gunmen in two vehicles tried to smash through a police checkpoint near the town of Atimonan. Provincial police and military had set up a checkpoint after receiving a tip that at a Bicol-based criminal group was to pass by the area headed for Metro Manila.

When authorities attempted to flag down the vehicles, they were fired upon by the suspects resulting in a gun fight.

Unexpected

Aside from policemen, De Leon said that soldiers were also killed.

Additionally, Col Generoso Bolina, spokesman of the AFP's Southern Luzon Command, said they have yet to confirm reports that an Air Force soldier  was among the slain.

De Leon refused to confirm the identities of the policemen killed but admitted that they "did not expect at all that there were uniformed personnel involved."

The group is believed to be the Siman Group, an alleged gun-for-hire group also involved in robbery and illegal drugs, according to Melad.

The other slain suspects were identified as Tirso Lontoc Jr., Leonardo Catapang Marasigan, Conrado Decillo, Victor Gonzales, Maximo Manalastas Pelayo, Victorino Siman Atienza Jr., Gerry Ancero Siman, Staff Sergeant Armando Aranda Lescano, Jimbeam Justiniani and Paul Arcedillo Quiohilag.

Supt. Hansel Marantan, a ranking police officer in charge of the checkpoint, was also wounded and taken to a hospital. - Rappler.com