PHILIPPINE National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday said the recent killing of a so-called ‘Ninja Cop’ in a gunbattle with undercover officers in Koronadal City, South Cotabato should serve as another stern warning to the remaining misfits and scalawags in uniform to mend their ways or end up six feet underground should they refuse to fight it out with their colleagues.
The PNP chief referred to the case of Police Officer 1 Rommil Barcellano of the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office who was gunned down in a firefight with undercover officers of the PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force.
“This incident should serve as a lesson and game changer for others like him who refuse to toe the line and continue to betray the public trust with their criminal ways. There will be no let-up and no sacred cows in this campaign,” Gen. Albayalde told the Journal Group.
The PNP chief emphasized that the operation two Saturdays ago is proof that the PNP internal cleansing program continues to gain ground in ridding the organization of criminal elements and undesirables.
The PNP-CITF-led operation in Koronadal City resulted in the killing of PO1 Barcellano who was tagged as the leader of an organized crime group engaged in recycling and selling of seized drugs as well as robbery-holdup and gun-for-hire activities in Central Mindanao.
PNP-CITF commander, Senior Superintendent Romeo M. Caramat Jr. said the suspect had just sold a packet of shabu to an undercover officer in Tajmia Economy Suites at Osita Block 2, Barangay Zone 2 in Koronadal City when he resisted arrest and tried to shoot the poseur prompting back-up operatives to retaliate and kill him on the spot.
Recovered from the possession of the slain cop were the marked P1,000 bill paid to him by the agent as well as one small heat-sealed plastic sachet containing suspected shabu which he sold to the officer, two plastic packets containing the same drug, one caliber .45 Para Ordnance semi-automatic pistol with serial no. 15846, two cal. .45 magazines with several live ammunition, a pair of handcuffs, P5,020 in different denominations and two cellphones, one of which he used in making the drug transaction with the PNP-CITF operative.
Caramat said that the entrapment operation was conducted by a PNP-CITF team led by Supt. Joel Estaris with the support of the PNP Intelligence Group headed by Chief Supt. Edmund A. Gonzales and the 4th Special Action Battalion of the PNP Special Action Force.
“This buy-bust operation is coordinated by my men with the Police Regional Office 12 headed by Chief Supt Eliseo Rasco against a drug-dealing cop,” said the official.
Caramat said the operation stemmed from an intelligence packet provided by the Regional Intelligence Unit 12 under Comprehensive Plan ‘Sauve’ which stated that Barcellano is the leader of the ‘Banjo Barcellano Group’ involved in several illegal activities like recycling of shabu, car theft, ‘Akyat-Bahay’ and gun-for-hire activities in Cotabato and other parts of Central Mindanao. He added the suspect is also include on the watch list of the PNP-CITF and the PNP Directorate for Intelligence.