Oplan: Big-time Tokhang
Government’s antidrug war basically took a more literal twist on Friday when a strong force of about a hundred uniformed armed police and military operatives knocked on the doors of Barangay Tangke, Talisay — a village notorious for a thriving drug trade.
At around 6 a.m., in an operation dubbed as “Big-time Tokhang,” elements of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), Special Action Force (SAF), Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC), Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) swooped down on the area considered to have the biggest illegal drug trade in Talisay.
The operation, initiated by the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas and led by CPPO director, Senior Supt. Eric Noble, netted ten surrenderers, including Romeo Santillan, a councilor of Barangay Tangke.
Talisay City Police Office (TCPO) director Supt. Ariola Dante told Cebu Daily News that Councilor Santillan promised to bring in more than 300 drug pushers to surrender before Christmas day.
CDN tried to reach Santillan for his comment, but all efforts to reach him, including through the Tangke Barangay Hall, failed last night.
A tanod (village watchman) who answered the call said that Santillan has been confined in an undisclosed hospital for an illness.
Dante said police had been pressuring barangay officials in Talisay to submit their own list of drug pushers and peddlers from their respective areas.
“Directives sa headquarters. May notion na pag sinabing (Barangay) Tangke marami pa rin nagtutulak at gumagamit ng shabu (It was a directive coming from the headquarters. There is a notion that if we say Tangke there are still many drug peddlers and users in the area),” Dante said.
According to Dante, TCPO has not been remiss in conducting antidrug operations in the barangay which has, in fact, become a “ghost town,” he said.
“Inaaraw-araw kasi namin yan (Tokhang in Tangke). Sa ngayon wala nag pakalat-kalat sa kalsada kahit madaling araw. Wala nang lantarang pagbenta ng shabu. Last Tuesday nag-conduct din kami diyan more or less 100 yung nag-surrender (We conducted Tokhang in Tangke every day. At present, you cannot see people loitering in the area at dawn. No one is also openly selling shabu in the barangay. Last Tuesday we conducted Tokhang and more or less 100 people surrendered),” Dante said.
The police chief then appealed for cooperation from the community for a successful antidrug campaign in Talisay City.
During Talisay’s “Big-time Tokhang operation,” a 23-year-old man, identified as Louvic Lariosa, was also arrested after he was caught in possession of 10 packs of shabu (methamphetamine) valued at P2,000 during the police rounds.
In Northern Cebu, barangay councilors, who earlier surrendered to police in the town of Catmon, expressed fears for their lives following the successive killings of two village councilors in the town.
Catmon police chief Senior Insp. Alexander Nuñez said that two councilmen visited the police station afraid that they might also be executed following the deaths of a barangay councilor last week and another killing of a councilman last Thursday.
“I just warned them that if they are not doing anything illegal then they have nothing to fear and if they seek police assistance, we will be ready to help them,” Nuñez said in Cebuano.
At around 9 a.m., on Thursday, 43-year-old Keith Colonia, a councilor of Barangay Macaas, Catmon, was gunned down by two unidentified men while jogging on the national highway.
Colonia surrendered in a Tokhang operation last July 28 and admitted to using drugs.
Last Friday, a councilor of Barangay San Jose, Jeffrey Comeros, who was also a drug surrenderer, was also shot by two unidentified armed men.
Nuñez ruled out that it was the handiwork of a vigilante group, as there was no such group operating in his area of jurisdiction, he said.
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