No Tokhang deaths so far, PNP clarifies
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - February 5, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The killing of a suspected drug pusher in a supposed shootout in Tondo, Manila last week was not an Oplan Tokhang operation, the Philippine National Police (PNP) clarified yesterday.

Kenneth de la Cruz, a 31-year-old scavenger, died after he allegedly engaged police in a firefight during an anti-drug campaign dubbed Double Barrel Reloaded, PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao said.

“It was not a Tokhang operation. The suspect was killed during a drug sting based on the report of the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 1 commander,” Bulalacao said.

The PNP explained that Tokhang, which means knock and plead in Cebuano, is conducted by four unarmed uniformed police officers who visit drug offenders’ homes and pursuade them to surrender.

Under the relaunched Tokhang, police will visit the houses of drug suspects from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bulalacao said Tokhang is different from other PNP anti-drug operations, which are conducted around the clock by police.

He said Double Barrel Reloaded targets high-value drug suspects.

National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde said Tokhang aims to reduce the demand for illegal drugs.

Drug stings seek to rid the streets of illegal drugs, with a majority of the policemen armed with search warrants, Albayalde said.

MPD Station 1 commander Superintendent Jay Dimaandal maintained that De la Cruz, who had been detained twice on drug charges, was killed after he opened fire at police on Friday.

Police said they recovered six sachets of shabu worth P3,000, a 9mm pistol, an improvised firearm and bullets from De la Cruz.

The killing of De la Cruz will be looked into by the PNP Internal Affairs Service to determine if there were lapses on the part of the police officers, according to Albayalde. – With Non Alquitran

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