Thirteen suspected members of a criminal group were killed while a police official was injured in a clash between Atimonan and Plaridel, Quezon, on Sunday afternoon, police and military officials said.

Members of the Calabarzon regional police intelligence division and Quezon Provincial Police encountered suspected members of a “partisan armed group” around 3 p.m., PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo said in a text message.

Col. Generoso Bolina, spokesman of the Armed Forces’ Southern Luzon Command, said the policemen, along with members of the Army’s 1st Special Forces Battalion, flagged down two Montero sports utility vehicles at a checkpoint in Brgy. Tanauan, Plaridel, but were fired upon by the vehicles’ occupants.

The shooting prompted the policemen and soldiers to retaliate, Bolina said.

Thirteen were killed on the criminal group’s side while a certain Supt. Marantan was injured on the government side, Cerbo said.

Supt. Hansel Marantan was rushed to the Dona Martha Hospital due to bullet wounds to the left arm and left foot, but was later transferred to a hospital in Lucena City, according to Chief Supt. James Melad, Calabarzon regional police director.

The suspects’ SUVs were also destroyed during the shootout, Bolina said.

Troops recovered an M14 rifle, M16 baby armalite rifle, and at least eight caliber-.45 pistols from the slain suspects, he added. (John Roson)

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