San Isidro police didn’t learn lessons from Dapecol debacle

Sr. Supt. Jaime Morente, chief of the Davao City police, said the entire police personnel of San Isidro town was relieved Wednesday for failing to stop the New People's Army  from attacking their detachment last Wednesday afternoon.

Morente said Chief Supt.Andres Caro, chief of the PNP Southern Mindanao ordered the relief of the entire San Isidro police station pending the filing of administrative charges against them.

He said Caro ordered the deployment of the PNP Regional Mobile Force to San Isidro to replace the relieved policemen.

Morente said the arrival of an L-300 van filled with men in soldiers’ uniforms shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday  should have alerted the policemen into thinking something was wrong.

"We were already warned against men in uniform riding in commercial vans especially if there is no prior communication. They should have viewed the arrival as a threat," Moretne said.

He said the PNP had adopted and distributed the rules of engagement on such threats especially after the  April 8, 2007 NPA raid at the Davao Penal Colony. NPA guerrillas used the same ruse when they raided the Davao Penal Colony early morning of Easter Sunday and carted away more than a hundred firearms.

In the guidelines following the April 8 raid, Morente said the rule was for the police station to react defensively as soon as armed uniformed men arrive in commercial vans.

"Apparently this lesson was not heeded by the policemen in San Isidro," he said.

Some 40 NPA rebels carried out the successful raid at the San Isidro police station Wednesday, carting away nine M16 rifles and two short firearms. Nobody was hurt after the policemen gave up without firing a shot, reports said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)