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Ambush: FDA chief unharmed, cops killed

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Three police officers were killed and three others were wounded after their convoy was attacked by unidentified armed men in Lupi town, Camarines Sur Thursday morning.

Chief Insp. Maria Luisa Calubaquib of the Bicol police said the lawmen were acting as security escort for Food and Drug Administration Director General Nela Charade Puno on her way to Daet, Camarines Norte when armed men fired at them in Barangay Napolidan around 9:10 a.m.

Calubaquib said Puno, who was in another vehicle, was unharmed. The police identified those killed in the ambush as SPO1 Percival Rafael, PO3 Carlito Navarroza and PO1 Ralph Jason Vida while the wounded were PO1 Jonathan Perillo, PO1 Ruby Buena and PO1 Rodolfo Gonzaga.

The gunmen managed to hit only the police vehicle at the rear of the convoy, killing the three cops onboard.

According to Bicol police regional director Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal, Puno’s vehicle was able to speed away when the armed men began firing on the police escorts.

Escobal said it is likely that communist New People’s Army could have been behind the attack.

“There’s no other armed group in that area,” Escobal said in an online interview.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is investigating the possibility that information on the route taken by the convoy of Puno was leaked to suspected communist rebels.

In a statement, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said they are probing whether there was a “failure of intelligence” in the incident.

“Maybe there was a leak,” Albayalde said.

The PNP chief added that an advance party from the military which left ahead of Puno’s group also passed by Barangay Napolidan in Lupi, Camarines Sur on Thursday morning.

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