Ex-PNP Intel officer survives ambush

SARRAT, Ilocos Norte, April 26—Retired Senior Police Officer 4 Apolonio Medrano, popularly known as “Polon”, narrowly escaped death during an ambush staged by two or three heavily armed men shortly after midnight today at sitio Capanagan, Brgy. San Manuel, this town.

“I am very thankful to God for it was a second lease on my life when this horrifying incident happened to me last night. The real target was Mayor Medrano, my cousin,” Polon said in the Iluko dialect.

A report said Polon, who was a police intelligence operative in Ilocos region in the 2000s, emerged unhurt in the ambuscade but the left flasher of his motorcycle he was driving was shattered by a bullet. The motorcycle’s tanker side was also grazed in the shooting.

In a phone interview this morning with the broadcast media, Medrano, who is now serving as personal security officer of his cousin Sarrat Mayor Remigio Medrano, gave the following first-hand account of the incident:At 12:10 o’clock last night, he drove his motorcycle towards the Padsan river bank to clear the area where Mayor Medrano would pass by on the way home after the latter attended a barangay fiesta as a guest of honor and speaker.

The river bank is the shortcut way going to the town proper. It was the same route he and the Mayor’s group used when they went to attend the said barrio fiesta, he said.

While Polon was clearing the area and reached an isolated place, the assailants, who hid under the cover of darkness, fired at him with an automatic rifle from the direction on his left side.

As instinct against danger, he quickly jumped from his motorcycle and dived into the sandy ground where he crawled about 30 meters away from his fallen motorcycle with headlight still on.

From the direction at his right side, another assailant walked closer to the fallen motorcycle and repeatedly fired a handgun probably to finish him off.

At that juncture, he managed to call for rescue from the Mayor’s police security escorts who were then approaching the river bank.

Polon, however, did not mention if he was armed with a gun or if armed, he did not say if retaliated and traded shots with the ambushers.

A PNP SOCO team found at the crime scene 12 empty shells of bullets for Cal. 9mm pistol and a magazine with 20 rounds of ammunition for M-16 Armalite rifle.

Polon surmised Mayor Medrano was supposed to be the target of the assassination attempt as he suspected politics as the motive of the shooting incident.

He disclosed that Mayor Medrano had received death threats since he won the local election in Sarrat.

On the other hand, Sarrat police chief Suitos told reporters that his investigators were looking into all angles to determine the motive behind the incident.(w/ tri-media report)