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CARNAGE IN SAMAR: 3 dead, 4 wounded

Feb 5, 2024, 2:36 AM
Miguel Raymundo

Miguel Raymundo


Three dead, four wounded out of 14 policemen who served warrants of arrest (WoA) to three suspects in a remote barangay in Samar.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) must have been expecting resistance and possible violence that a big team of 14 police officers was sent to arrest the three suspects.

What they did not expect was that the team was up against the whole community, as bullets rained on them, ambushed before they could serve the WOAs.

Last January 30, the village of Mahayag in Santa Margarita town became a war zone when 14 police officers served WoAs for three residents in the village, namely Jojo Altarejos, Rogelio Macurol, Edito Ampoan.

The three are known members of a notorious criminal group led by Edito Ampoan.

This group has been tagged by the PNP as an emerging criminal group operating in Sta Margarita and its neighbor towns and allegedly facing a long list of murder cases in court.

Ready for the arrival of PNP officers to serve WoAs, the suspects engaged the government forces in a firefight that lasted for over 30 minutes, leading to the deaths of 3 policemen and wounding of four.

The three suspects who were the subject of the warrants of arrest succeeded to elude arrest and are now on the run.

The PNP, supported by the 8th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), are on a manhunt for the suspects.

Reports from the area of the bloody encounter say the 14 PNP officers serving the WoAs were caught off-guard as they were shot at by the community, with bullets coming from all directions.

“Waray paglaum an mga kapulisan nga pati mga tambay ha gawas mga armado ngay’an,” a witness to the firefight said.

Gunfire were coming from several houses, shooting at the police officers, leading to the demoralization of the arresting officers.

“The community preferred to protect the suspects over the peace officers,” same source said.

Involvement by parties other than the subject of WoA led to the arrest of seven residents who are now in police custody.

The seven are alias Gi who is the youngest at 23, Adok 56, Calagos 40, Serrano 62, Jason 26, Casaljay 64 and Ando 48.

Why the suspects had the protection of some families in the community was explained by a source.

“A leader in the crime group is reportedly a son of a top barangay official and members of the group are relatives,” the source said.

The village has gained notoriety for its lawlessness, getting known for not respecting the law, worse, putting justice in its own hands.

The question hangs, though, the cops should have been more prepared given the reputation of the village, sending 14 officers was not enough. Sufficient preparations for the tactical move could have saved three lives, all police officers.

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