7 drug suspects slain in shootout with Cebu cops

Emmanuel Tupas, Mae Clydyl Avila - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Seven suspected drug pushers, who were also tagged in contract killings, were killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on Wednesday.

Abundio Jr. and Allan, both surnamed De la Torre; Mohaimen Mauyag, Shainoden Dimasimpan, Manuel Pepito, an alias Mantak and a certain Jovan were pronounced dead on arrival in various hospitals.

Superintendent Mark Gifter Sucalit, Lapu-Lapu police intelligence unit chief, said the clash occurred when the suspects, who were in shanties in Sitio St. Michael in Barangay Pajac, fired at police officers who responded to reports that armed men were seen in the area at past 2 p.m.

Police said seven .45-caliber pistols and .38-caliber revolvers as well as an undetermined quantity of shabu were recovered from the fatalities.

Chief Inspector Juan Capacio of the Marigondon police Station 4 said among the fatalities were suspects in the kiling of 19-year-old student Kristian Saldavia last Sept. 16 and a security guard in Barangay Basak on Wednesday.

Police launched a manhunt for the leader and three other members of the gang.

CHR to probe killings

Arvin Odron, Commission on Human Rights-Central Visayas director, said they would conduct an investigation into the incident, which has the highest number of fatalities in a single police operation in Cebu.

Odron said probers would look into the possible abuse of authority of the police officers involved in the operation.

“The CHR needs to conduct an independent investigation and come up with a concrete finding,” Odron said.

Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas, Central Visayas police director, maintained that Lapu-Lapu police officers conducted a legitimate operation and followed the rules of engagement.

 “We will let them investigate. We are not hiding anything... The Regional Internal Affairs Service will also conduct... an investigation if they see any illegitimacy in the death of the seven suspects,” Sinas said.   With May Miasco/Christell Fatima Tudtud/The Freeman

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