FDA chief not target of ambush, says Camarines Sur top cop

MANILA, Philippines – Camarines Sur cops doubt that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Nela Charade Puno was the target of the roadside ambush in Lupi town on Thursday, October 18.

The incident left at least 3 cops dead and 3 others wounded. Puno was unharmed after her vehicle escaped from the encounter.

In a phone interview with Rappler, provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Reynaldo Pawid said he believes the suspected communist gunmen which mounted the attack only planned to shoot a police vehicle passing by the highway connecting Lupi to Daet town, unaware that Puno was in the convoy.

"Hindi nila alam na andoon si FDA [chief]. Nagkataon lang na nando'n si FDA [chief], kasi prior to that sa area na 'yung maliit, may napatay na ako na tao (They didn't know. It just so happened that the FDA chief was there, because prior to that in that small area, I already had a comrade who was killed)," Pawid said.

In that previous incident, Pawid said New People's Army (NPA) rebels were also the suspected perpetrators. (READ: Cop killed, 10 others wounded in suspected NPA ambush in Iloilo)

He said they were fortunate that the gunmen were only able to shoot at one car, but he still lamented that 3 cops died holding off the assailants as Puno's party escaped.

The provincial police chief said they have called for a meeting with their Philippine Army counterparts to track down the alleged communist assailants and bring them to justice.

Pawid's suspicion differs from that of Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, who earlier said an insider may have leaked Puno's path to the suspected communist guerrillas.

Pawid said the alleged NPA rebels had no motive to target the FDA chief. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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