Albayalde sacks Northern Samar town police officers over suspected NPA raid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 10) —  Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde on Friday relieved from their posts all police personnel of Lapinig town in Northern Samar after some 100 suspected communist rebels raided the municipal hall and police station there earlier the same day.

Officials said the entire workforce of the municipal police station, including Chief of Police Inspector Noli Montebon as well as other immediate superiors, will be sacked from their positions while investigation is being conducted.

Police said the suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels arrived on board dump trucks, swooped down on the municipal hall and police station, traded fire for about 15 minutes with policemen on duty, and carted away guns, mobile phones, cash, and laptop computers.

There were no immediate reports of fatalities but two policemen were wounded and rushed to hospital.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officer-in-charge Eduardo Año said the attack could be part of a rebel offensive and show of force after President Rodrigo Duterte canceled peace talks with a communist umbrella group.

He said authorities are still conducting further investigation as to how a hundred communist rebels managed to stage the attack.

Año, however, revealed the government has been receiving tips on possible NPA attacks since President Rodrigo Duterte called off peace talks with the communist group.

"Nagsimula yan magsimula ng kinansel ng ating pangulo ang peace talks with the CPP-NPA. But instead, in-authorize nya ang localized peace talks," Año said.

(Translation: It all started when our president cancelled peace talks with the CPP-NPA. But instead, he authorized localized peace talks.)

"So gusto ipakita ng mga NPA lalo sa pangunguna nina Joma (Sison) na kaya nila kontrolin ang NPA sa ground. So nagpalabas sila ng direktiba to initiate more offensives against our military and PNP troopers at naging target nila ngayon ay mga PNP stations," he added.

(Translation: The NPA, led by Joma, wants to show they can control the ground. So they carried out a directive to initiate more offensives against our military and PNP troopers, and now they are targeting the PNP stations.)

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.