Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Cop killed, 2 kidnapping witnesses wounded in Zamboanga shootout

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 5, 2011) – A policeman was killed after he was shot Tuesday by his companion during an altercation that also wounded two kidnapping witnesses they were guarding on a village in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said the shooting occurred inside a safe house of the Department of Justice in the village of Tetuan. “The two government witnesses were rushed to hospital and that one of them is seriously wounded,” Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo, the city police chief, told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

The shooter, PO3 Carmelito Macasantos, escaped after killing PO1 Tomas Dauba and is being hunted by authorities. “I spoke with Macasantos on the phone and he said he would surrender peacefully,” De Ocampo said.

De Ocampo said to avoid suspicion of a whitewash, he asked the National Bureau of Investigation to take over the case. “There is an ongoing NBI investigation to really dig deeper into this case,” he said.

“Apparently there already existed a personal grudge between the two policemen and an argument led to this shooting incident,” he said.

It was not immediately known what triggered the altercation, but Macasantos, who was relieving Dauba, had bad mouthed the policeman that led into an altercation.

De Ocampo said the two witnesses are under the Witness Protection Program in connection with the 2009 kidnapping of a local bakery owner Eliseo Hablo.

Police forces rescued Hablo in Zamboanga City and arrested and charged a prominent lawyer, who was tagged as the alleged kidnapping mastermind, and several other people, including two policemen. (Mindanao Examiner)

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