Four more drug peddlers shot dead
THE body count of slain criminals continued to rise yesterday, with at least four more suspected drug dealers killed by law enforcers in Cebu City and two others in Bohol since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office on July 1.
The most recent casualty was Ed Borces, 52, said to be the number seven drug peddler in Barangay Talamban, Cebu City, who was killed after reportedly engaging policemen led by Senior Insp. Percival Miasco in a shootout in Barangay San Jose at past 5 a.m. yesterday.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña was expected to give yet another P50,000 to the Talamban policemen for neutralizing Borces.
Osmeña has so far given out P575,000 since mid-May, or barely a week after he won the city mayoral race, for slain or arrested crime suspects. Since that time, he had given reward money for 11 slain drug dealers who operated in the city.
On May 17, he awarded P20,000 to PO3 Julius Regis for arresting two alleged robbers who victimized passengers of a public utility jeepney.
Two days later on May 19, he gave P50,000 to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operation Task Force for killing a drug pusher in a shootout in Barangay Sudlon 2; P155,000 to Senior Insp. Henrix Bancoleta of the Central Visayas Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force, who led the operation that resulted to the death of Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria, the third most wanted drug personality in Central Visayas, and his two cohorts, John Jason Montes and Dario Torremocha, on Banacon Island in Getafe, Bohol last May 28; P100,000 to the police officers who killed Cebu’s top drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz and his bodyguard in Las Piñas City on June 17; P50,000 for the death of the alleged gunman in the ambush-slay of anti-drug crusader Crisostomo Maternal Jr.; and P200,000 given out only last Wednesday for the killing of four suspected drugs peddlers in Barangays Mambaling, Lahug and Bacayan.
In Bohol, police had also shot dead two other drug peddlers since July 1, said Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, deputy regional director for operations of the Police Regional Office (PRO-7).
Lawas said they expected families of the drug suspects to accuse policemen of a rubout but insisted that every accusation should be proven.
“We’re open to receive any complaints and undergo different kinds of investigations. We welcome that so we could hear both the sides of the families and the concerned police officers, and ferret the truth,” he said in an interview. “At least, we could erase doubts through the conduct of investigations.
Let’s put everything on the table and find out the truth instead of bare allegations.”
Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, chief of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), on Wednesday encouraged policemen not to have second thoughts in shooting suspected drug personalities if the latter would attempt to fight back.
“Our policemen have to defend themselves. They can engage drug personalities in a shootout; otherwise they put their lives in danger. Dapat maunang mamatay ang mga drug pushers. (Drug pushers should die first),” he said.
Along with the rise of slain suspected drug dealers, the number of drug pushers and users who have surrendered to either local officials or police stations in Central Visayas has also risen, numbering at least a thousand since July 1.
Lawas said the number of surrenderees was expected to still increase in the coming days, most of whom would be processed for rehabilitation by the local government units (LGUs) where they surrendered.
“We’re collating all the data and what we released now just covered a period of one week,” he said.
The intense anti-drug campaign came as local police chiefs in the region came under pressure to show results for the Operation Plan (Oplan) “Tokhang” or face relief from their posts.
Tokhang, a contraction of the Bisayan words “toktok” (to knock) and “hangyo” (to make a request), is a a nationwide campaign of the Philippine National Police to warn illegal drug peddlers and users that law enforcers will be going after them if they will not give up the trade.
Under Oplan Tokhang, drug users or peddlers who surrendered but have no pending arrest warrants were allowed to go home after signing a document where they promised never to be involved in illegal drugs again.
Lawas said they would ask the municipal, city and provincial police chiefs to submit an updated data with regard to drug personalities in their respective areas.
“From there, we will gauge how far have our police stations chiefs come in the Oplan Tokhang. We’ve given the police chiefs a fair warning that we have to be serious in our campaign against illegal drugs,” he said.
Taliño on Tuesday said they would assess weekly the performance of all police chiefs and provincial directors in the region and relieve those who would fail to meet the target.
Taliño said that all police station chiefs were directed and submitted last February the list of the top ten drug personalities in their respective areas.
But when he assumed his post last Monday, he learned that the police chiefs have not yet arrested these drug personalities.
Records of PRO-7 showed that of the 126 police stations in Central Visayas, 70 failed to arrest the top drug personalities in their area while 52 have not made even made a single arrest of a known drug peddler. Of the 52, 31 were from Cebu, 20 from Bohol, and one from Lapu-Lapu City.
At least 18 other stations have effected arrests but are not enough to pass Taliño’s rating.
In Cebu City, however, the police have noticeably taken a more intense anti-drug campaign since Osmeña won as mayor last May and implemented a tough approach to fighting crime, including giving of reward of P50,000 for every slain criminal.
Last Tuesday, operatives of the intelligence branch of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) shot dead a suspected drug pusher who allegedly fired at them in Barangay Lahug. The following day, two other suspected peddlers were killed in what police said was a shootout in Barangay Bacayan.
At past 5 a.m. yesterday, Borces, who was on the illegal drug’s watchlist of the Talamban Police, was killed by operatives when he opened fire at the responding team. Recovered from him were two large packs of shabu, a .38 caliber revolver, and cash amounting to P3,160./with UP Cebu Intern Morexette Marie Erram
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