Police Captain Killed, Fourth Lawman Slain
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Three gunmen shot a police captain to death today in a Manila suburb, officials said. He was the fourth lawman slain in the capital area in the past two days.
Capt. Jaime de la Paz, chief of the mobile unit for the Pasig police department, was gunned down this morning as he left his home for work, said Sgt. Angel Sumulong.
De la Paz’s foot pressed on the accelerator of his car moments after he was shot, and the car rammed into a nearby store, Sumulong said.
The assailants escaped on a motorcycle with a sidecar after taking the dead officer’s .38-caliber pistol. Officials said the gunmen, described as young men, fired from both sides of the street.
On Thursday, three gunmen shot dead the police chief of suburban Navotas, Col. Nicanor Lacson, and his driver, also a policeman. The assailants escaped in the same type of vehicle. A third policeman was shot dead Thursday in Manila’s Quezon City suburb.
More than 40 police and military men have been killed in the Manila area this year, and officials blame most of the deaths on Communist assassination squads. Three of the dead have been suburban police chiefs.
Sumulong said witnesses told investigators they doubted that today’s killing was carried out by Communist rebels, but police were still investigating.
Later, the government-run Philippines News Agency said the three may have been members of a rebel assassination squad, known here as ″sparrow units.″
Today’s shooting occurred about a half-mile from the spot where Capt. Jose Merano Jr., police chief of suburban Pateros, was slain last March.
President Corazon Aquino vowed today to crush Communist rebels and promised to raise a new citizen’s army to ″deny the countryside to the insurgents.″
In a speech to graduates of the Philippine Army’s command and general staff course, Mrs. Aquino promised not to ″compromise the security of our people″ in the search for national reconciliation.
″I will not relent in my determination to destroy all threats to democracy from the left and the right in five years. And I will take all measures necessary to achieve this aim,″ she said.
In the latest fighting, the military said one soldier was killed and two others wounded during a rebel ambush today in Pangasinan province some 200 miles north of Manila.
Mrs. Aquino’s reformist government, which defeated President Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986, failed last January to negotiate peace with the rebels.
The citizens’ force would enable Mrs. Aquino to fulfill a campaign pledge to abolish the paramilitary Civilian Home Defense Force, which has been accused of widespread human rights abuses against civilians. The military has opposed dismantling the force.
Officials say the ″citizen’s army,″ which like the civilian defense force would supplement the regular 200,000-member armed forces, will be modeled after Israel’s defense force.
Mrs. Aquino said a goal of the citizens’ army will be to make the government’s presence felt throughout the countryside, including areas where the rebels operate with virtual impunity.