A vehicular ambush incident transpired at Provincial Road, Barangay Pandan, South Upi, Maguindanao involving the convoy of Mayor Reynalbert O. Insular of South Upi, Maguindanao happened around 2:10PM of January 3, 2021.
Investigation disclosed that Mayor Reynalbert O Insular together with his convoy; South Upi MPS Personnel, 57IB 6IB personnel, RHU personnel, and MDRR personnel were on their way to Poblacion Romongaob, South Upi Maguindanao, after a relief mission for the victims of the recent harassment at Brgy. Poblacion Itaw, of the same municipality.
Upon reaching Barangay Pandan, the vehicle of Hon Alberto Estorninos, part of the said convoy, was hit by an IED at the side of the road resulting to one (1) death and wounding of four (4) others and damages to vehicles. After a while, PNP personnel and AFP personnel exchange gunfire with the lawless elements that lasted for more or less one hour. Mayor Insular and other members of the convoy were extracted successfully around 3:00 PM of the said date.
Hot pursuit operations were conducted by the PNP and AFP against the perpetrators. All wounded victims are under medical treatment at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center. They are identified as the following. Leonard Ato Betita, 20 years old, male, resident of Barangay Pilar; John Andrew Tumbaga, 30 years old, RHU/Sanitary Inspector and a resident of Timanan, Romongaob, South Upi, Maguindanao; Ernesto Ambang Debang, resident of Broce, SPDA; and Christian Divinagracia Sase, resident of Barangay Itaw, South Upi, Maguindanao. However, Thelmo Divinagracia Sase Jr., 28 years old, male, student, resident of Brgy. Itaw, South Upi, Maguindanao was declared Dead on Arrival by the attending Physician.
PBGEN Samuel P Rodriguez, Regional Director, strongly condemns to the highest order this criminal act which resulted to the death of one innocent civilian. PBGEN Rodriguez assures the family of the victims that the criminals behind this incident will be apprehended no matter what because PRO BAR is relentless to solve this case until justice is served.