Price of shabu drops in Central Visayas as drug dealers try to lie low and dump their supply ahead of Duterte’s assumption as president
Barely a month before President-elect Rodrigo Duterte assumes the highest position in the country, drug peddlers, in Central Visayas at least, are starting to feel the heat.
A small packet of shabu is now sold at P60 in most parts of the region, mainly in Metro Cebu, or three times cheaper than the original price that used to range from P200 to P300, said a report received by the Central Visayas Police Regional Office (PRO-7) .
“It’s either there are now few buyers or maybe the drug peddlers are afraid of the new administration, prompting them to sell all their supplies before Duterte sits as president,” Supt. Rex Derilo, head of the Regional Intelligence Division (RID-7), said in an interview yesterday.
With this development, Derilo said there will be no letup in their campaign against illegal drugs.”
“Policemen are more motivated now because of Duterte’s all-out war against illegal drugs,” he said.
Based on the accomplishment report of PRO-7, there were fewer police operations against illegal drugs in Central Visayas for most of the first half of this year yet there were more drug peddlers arrested.
The value of the drugs seized in Central Visayas also surged from the P95.8 million confiscated from January to May in 2015 to P106.4 million over the same period this year.
With the diminishing supply, the law of supply and demand would have dictated that the price would go higher. In this case, however, the price of shabu was observed to be dropping.
Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador Jr., PRO-7 director, said they were on the right track.
“Our thrust now is not just to get more kilos [of shabu] but also to arrest high quality targets because if we get the right targets, we could also reduce the supply of illegal drugs,” he said during the Talakayan sa Isyung Pulis forum at the PRO-7 Media Center yesterday.
Based on the PRO-7 accomplishment report, 1,615 persons were arrested for illegal drug violations in Central Visayas in 2015 involving 1,098 operations conducted from January to May 2016. But while the anti-drug operations were reduced by 47 compared to that of last year, 65 more individuals were arrested.
The number of cases filed before the prosecution offices also increased from 2,114 last year to 2,170 in the first five months of this year.
The amount of confiscated shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) also rose from 8,121.3 grams (8.1213 kilos) in January to May 2015 to 9,074.15 grams (9.07415 kilos) over the same period this year.
As to the number of drug suspects nabbed by the police, 72 of the 120 top drug personalities in Cebu City alone had been arrested, said Senior Supt. Benjamin Santos Jr., Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) chief.
“That means, 72 percent of the notorious or most wanted drug pushers in the city have been arrested,” he said.
The figure does not include the controversial anti-drug raid staged by regional and Cebu provincial anti-drug operatives on Banacon Island, off Getafe town, Bohol where suspected drug lord Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria was killed along with two of his companions on May 28.
Secretaria was tagged by police as a level one drug trader, who could sell up to 5 kilos of illicit drugs a week (valued at about P59 million), and the third most wanted drug personality in Central Visayas, not only in Cebu City as earlier reported.
Comendador urged policemen to make sure that all drug peddlers are put behind bars or to engage them in a shootout if the need arises.
“Let us not allow these drug pushers to step out of jail, and, then, they go back to business and recover their losses. These pushers are very dangerous, and they usually would want to shoot it out with policemen,” he said.
“So let’s either catch them and sue them for selling illegal drugs, which is a non-bailable offense, or neutralize them in a shootout,” he added.
Comendador said he believed that policemen knew the legal bounds of their actions, and that they just need to exercise good and sound judgment when running after illegal drug peddlers.
“I know they can do it within the bounds of the law,” he said.
IT’S NOT THE REWARD
Comendador clarified that the intensified anti-drugs campaign was not because of the reward money being offered by President-elect Duterte and incoming Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.
“Service before incentives. We can’t work with money as our motivation. Our commitment to serve is our primary motivation. Incentives are secondary,” he said.
Duterte on Tuesday announced his plan to give a P3-million bounty to policemen or military officers who can get drug lords “dead or alive.” The P1 million will be given for arrested or killed “drug supervisors” and P50,000 for “small-time” drug peddlers.
The same policy was introduced by Osmeña after he won in the May 9 elections.
The mayor offered a P50,000 reward to policemen who can kill drug personalities in Cebu City.
Meanwhile, Comendador said the Philippine National Police had never wavered in its commitment to police its own ranks.
So far, 56 policemen in Central Visayas are facing criminal charges in court.
Twenty-seven of them were charged with murder, seven were cited for physical injuries and six for arbitrary detention.
The rest were charged with other offenses which include homicide, theft, robbery, maltreatment of personnel, graft and corruption, and illegal drugs.
But Comendador said the public should not lose sight of the good things many policemen have done.
“If you look at it closely, these 27 policemen who have pending cases in court are less than one percent of the 8,700 policemen in the region,” Comendador said.
Meanwhile, the police’s relentless campaign against drugs also netted three suspected drug peddlers during separate operations in the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu on Tuesday night that also resulted in the seizure of suspected shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) with an estimated worth of about P58,000.
Arrested in these operations were Anthony Conchas, 23, of Purok Star Apple Barangay Umapad, Mandaue City, who was caught in the area by anti-drug agents of the city police with suspected shabu valued at about P50,000; Ryan Malinao, 31, who was nabbed in Sacris Road Barangay Tipolo,
Mandaue City with five plastic sachets of suspected shabu worth P2,000; and Jason Casio, 31, who was caught in Sitio Zone 2, Barangay Buaya, Lapu-Lapu City, in possession of 12 small plastic sachets of suspected shabu worth P6,000.
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