PAGADIAN City (DANNY S. MAULANA/Jan 31) - An army soldier on board a Rural Transit passenger bus was killed in a brief gunfight with 5 gunmen who staged a robbery Friday noon along the national highway in the vicinity of barangay Bogayo, Kumalarang town, Zaboanga del Sur.
The Kumalarang police identified the lone fatality as Duty Sargeant Renario Bucag of the 35th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army.
A police report furnished this paper said, Bucag who was one of the passengers engaged the 5 robbers who were armed with high-powered handguns in a gunfight even as they told the driver at gun point to keep driving and move on.
Police said, the Rural Transit of Mindanao Inc. (RTMI) passenger bus was driven by Marino Durilag with a certain Austria as the fare collector (conductor).
Police said, Bucag who sustained multiple gunshot wounds was rushed to Singidas medical clinic for medical attention, but died a few minutes after arrival.
Police said, a joint team of 53rd IB troopers led by Lt. Glynn Sametano and the local police under P/Insp Dickson K. Banes immediately mounted a pursuit operation to track down the perpetrators.
The joint army/police team recovered an L-200 Estrada pick up, the suspected get-away vehicle and arrested Rodello Estano Coja 47, residing at Prk 3, barangay Cargan, Tambulig, Zamboanga del Sur and Abdul Sarip Benito, 36 years old, single, a resident of 0117, Carbide, Tubod, Iligan City.
Police said, the Estrada pick-up is registered under MVRR Nr. 58638396 in the name of Yaser B. Sarip of Saduc, Marawi City.
The apprehended suspects and the Estrada pick-up are now in the custody of Kumalarang police station.