‘Drug dealer’ uses son as shield, fires at cops, escapes by jumping off cliff
Drug suspect wounds policeman, makes daring escape during Talisay buy-bust
CEBU CITY, Philippines — A suspected drug dealer used his six-year-old son as a shield as he fired at policemen during a buy-bust operation on Thursday night in Talisay City, and jumped off a cliff to make good his escape.
Efren Espina, who is in his mid 30s, wounded one of the policemen, who could not fire back because of Espina’s child during the anti-illegal drug operation at past 7 p.m., said Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, Talisay City Police Station chief, in an interview on July 16.
Pelare said Patrolman Gilbert James Lusica, who was wounded in the shoulder, was declared in stable condition at the hospital.
As for Espina, Pelare said he had remained at large but they were conducting a hot pursuit operation against him.
Investigation showed that the policemen were approaching Espina’s house in Barangay Jaclupan during the buy-bust operation on Thursday night, July 15, when Espina, who must have realized that they were policemen, quickly grabbed his six-year-old son, used him as a shield, pulled out his .45 caliber pistol, and fired at the approaching policemen as he moved to the back of the house to the edge of the cliff.
He then let go of his son as he reached the edge of the cliff and jumped.
Pelare also said that the policemen were at a disadvantage when Espina fired at them because Espina’s house was at an elevated portion of a hill and the policemen were on the lower portion of that hill.
Barangay Jaclupan is a mountain barangay in Talisay City in southern Cebu.
That is aside from the suspect using his son as a shield so that the policemen could not fire back at him.
“In the process, he was using his child as a shield. Murag iyang gihostage ang bata, so our police cannot retaliate kay naa may bata. Until such time na siguro (hapit) nahurot iyang bala, nilukso siya didto sa cliff sa likod while withdrawing, namusil sya,” he added.
(In the process, he was using his child asa shield. It seemed that he took his child hostage, so our police could not retaliate because of the child. Until when he realized that he was running out of bullets, he continued firing at policemen as he withdrew to the back of the house near the cliff and jumped after he let go of his child.)
Pelare said that they believed that Espina, a suspected drug dealer, survived the jump because they could not find his body at the bottom of the cliff.
The Talisay City police chief described Espina as a high value target in their watch list of drug personalities that they had been trying to catch for quite a while.
“Dugay na ni siya nga gipangita namo. He is one of the few remaining high profile personalities nga atong gipangita pero dili man siya magsige sa Jaclupan. Muanha ra na siyag kalit unya mulakaw ra pod,” Pelare said.
(We have been looking for him for quite a while. He is one of the few remaining high profile personalities that we have been trying to locate but he seldomed visit Jaclupan. He would just suddenly visit there, then would just leave right away.)
Pelare also said that the the suspected drug dealer was armed with a .45 caliber pistol, which he used against the policemen.
He said that despite Espina’s escape the policemen managed to confiscate 10 grams of suspected shabu, which they found inside Espina’s house.
Pelare said that the suspected shabu had an estimated market value of P66,000.
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