2 cops gunned down in Albay; suspects arrested at checkpoint

Two police officers from Police Regional Office V (PRO5) were murdered by two armed individuals riding a motorcycle around 11:49 pm last night, July 9.

According to Bicol Philippine National Police, the police officers were conducting a mobile patrol in Brgy. Ilaor Sur, Oas, Albay when they were fired at by the suspects who fled towards Polangui after the incident.

The victims have been identified as Police Chief Master Sergeant (PCMS) Joseph Ostonal, 43 years old, residing in Mayon Vista Subd., Brgy. Tuburan, Ligao City, and Police Corporal Jeffrey Refereza, 35 years old, residing in Libon, Albay. 

Recovered at the scene were a Taurus 1911 Caliber 45 pistol, along with the motorcycles used in the crime. 

The suspects who are both residents of Brgy. Santiago Old, Nabua, Camarines Sur, were apprehended in Brgy. Basud, Polangui, Albay, after being flagged down at a checkpoint. 

One of the suspects was identified as a deserted member of the Philippine Army, previously stationed at the 65th Infantry Battalion, 9th Infantry Division in Marawi City. 

The motive behind the murder remains unclear.

Officers from PRO5 expressed grief and anger about the incident.

“The men and women of PRO5 are profoundly saddened and angered by this incident, as it undermines the very purpose of their service, which is to uphold peace and security in the community. We share in the grief of the families and will support them through this difficult time in every way possible,” said in their statement.

Police commanders are also urged to take extra precautions, reminding them the importance of implementing heightened safety protocols in all police operations. | Lou Marie Cuarto