As more ‘drug suspects’ shot dead: Probe ‘vigilante’ kills - PRO-7

(The Freeman) - July 29, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Only the police can implement the law.

This was the statement of Police Regional Office-7 director Noli Taliño as he ordered his men to fast track the investigation into the killings of alleged drug personalities by alleged vigilantes.

"Sino ang pumapatay at sino ang involved dito," he said.

Taliño said they will not allow any person or group to kill drug pushers because it is against the law. He added only the police and other law enforcement agencies have the right to implement the law.

Those who have information about drug personalities in their respective areas can inform the police and leave them to do the legitimate operation, he said.

Taliño said according to reports, many of those killed are in the drug watch list.

He added they are looking into the possibility these alleged drug pushers were killed by others also involved in the illegal drug trade to keep them silent.

More killings

The latest victim was Ringo Boro, 32, a resident of barangay Pulpogan, Consolacion town, who was shot dead by two unidentified men yesterday at 10:30 a.m. along the highway of Barangay Cansaga.

Senior Inspector Wilson Abot, chief of the Consolacion Police Station, said Boro is a known drug user and drug runner. In fact, they said he was included in their watch list but they failed to place him under Oplan Tokhang.

Investigation revealed that while Boro was riding in his motorcycle, two men wearing bonnets and riding another motorcycle blocked him then shot him.

Boro's body was found with a piece of paper that read "TRAYDOR, SIGE UG SUMBONG SA PULIS."

Abot said Boro never turned himself over to the police even as they encouraged drug suspects to do so at the start of Operating Tokhang.

In Danao City, Roy Duran, 39, a resident of Barangay Kansi, Tuburan town, was found dead at the creek of Sitio Odlom, Barangay Oguis, at the boundary of Tuburan and Danao City, Wednesday at about 10:30 a.m.

Senior Inspector Alejandro Batobalonos said Duran was shot in the left leg and the nape with the bullet exiting from his forehead. An empty .45 cal. shell was found at the crime scene.

Duran was not included in their watchlist, but Batobalonos said an investigation is being conducted to determine the real motive of the killing.

Two persons with suspected links to illegal drugs were also killed while another is in critical condition after separate shooting incidents in Cebu City Wednesday evening.

Around 8:40 p.m. on Wednesday along Salvador Street, Barangay Labangon, an unidentified man shot Erwin Quijano, 40, jobless and a resident of the place.

Police said Quijano was napping on a table in his house when an unidentified man wearing a ball cap, a black jacket and with a handkerchief wrapped around his face, entered his house and shot him twice in the head before fleeing.

Quijano was taken to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and was in critical condition as of last night. Police said Quijano is twelfth in the Punta Princesa Police Station's watch list of drug suspects.

Around an hour later, Dario Paez, 49, was found dead along Tabada Street in Barangay Mambaling.

Paez, who worked in a lending firm and was resident of the place, was shot several times in different parts of his body. Residents said they heard gunshots from the crime scene while others said they saw a man escaping on a motorcycle after the gunshots stopped.

Police said Paez surrendered to them on July 2 as a result of Operation Tokhang.

Around midnight the same day Edwin Casinillo, 49, jobless, a resident of Sitio Lawis in Barangay Lorega, was shot dead by an unidentified man. He suffered gunshot wounds on his head and body and died shortly after.

Based on the police report, Casinillo's brother, Samuel, admitted the victim was once involved in illegal drugs. Samuel said he was inside their house when he heard gunshots. When he peeked outside, he saw his brother crawling on the ground asking for help. He also saw the assailant escape on a motorcycle.

Three dead in buy-bust

Last Wednesday three alleged drug personalities were also shot dead in separate buy-bust operations in Lapu-Lapu City and Medellin town.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-7 chief Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba said Asenio Potot, alias "Loloy", a resident of Barangay Kawit, Medellin, was shot dead on Wednesday at about 8:30 a.m. after he allegedly tried to shoot at policemen.

Potot, a drug pusher can reportedly sell up to 200 grams of shabu per week, is a member of a drug group operating in the Northern Cebu, Tayaba said.

Tayaba said after receiving information about his illegal activities they placed Potot under surveillance for a month. However, as they carried out the buy-bust operation, Potot found out they were policemen and allegedly drew out his gun to fire.

CIDG personnel fired first, hitting him in the chest. Potot was rushed to the hospital but did not make it there alive.

Policemen recovered eight plastic sachets containing suspected shabu weighing 10 grams with an estimated value of P40,000, the P200 buy-bust money, and a .38 cal. revolver without serial number and five live rounds.

In Barangay Pusok, Lapu-Lapu City, Noel Bulalhug Quintero, alias "Bolantoy", 30 and a certain JR Berdijo, both residents of Sitio Sta. Maria, Pusok, were shot and killed during a buy-bust operation yesterday around 12:30 a.m. at Sitio Sta. Maria.

Prior to the operation, policemen of Station 5 received a call from a concerned citizen informing them that there was a certain Bolantoy selling drugs in Sitio Sta. Maria.

Policemen led by Senior Inspector Wayne Magbanua went to the area. After verifying the report a buy-bust operation was then conducted, but Bolantoy sensed that he was transacting with a poseur-buyer and he and his companion Berdijo pulled out their guns and shot at the operatives.

No one from the operatives got hit and they immediately returned fire, hitting and instantly killing the two. The operatives were able to recover several sachets of suspected shabu, P200 buy-bust money, P800 believed to be drug money, a 9mm pistol, and a .45 cal. pistol from the suspects.

High-value targets

Meanwhile, the newly installed director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-7 said they are targeting notorious and high-level drug personalities.

Regional Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz, who hails from Cebu City, assumed his post yesterday, replacing former director Ronald Allan Ricardo as part of the regular revamp in the agency.

Ruiz said he already has a list of the top 10 drug personalities in every part of the region although he has yet to validate the list.

"Akong gusto nga ang Cebu ma-drug-free kay diri gud ko nagdako. Di pod ko gusto nga akong mga anak modako sa lugar nga naa'y droga," he told reporters.

He believes that the proliferation of drugs in Cebu is driven by its thriving economy, although he is also optimistic to achieve the six-month plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to eliminate the drug problem.

In eradicating drug problems, Ruiz said they will do their best to carry out peaceful operations without any suspects getting hurt.

Prior to his assignment in Cebu, Ruiz served as chief of PDEA-Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon). One of their biggest achievements there was the arrest of the members of an African drug syndicate who were also found with shabu and cocaine worth P20 million during an operation in Laguna.

In May this year, Ruiz shot and killed a suspected drug pusher after the latter allegedly grappled for his gun while he was being investigated at a camp in Laguna. The suspect reportedly complained about his handcuffs being too tight and requested Ruiz to loosen them. While Ruiz loosened the cuffs, the suspect allegedly grabbed his service firearm and a struggle ensued, leaving him no choice but to shoot the suspect twice. (FREEMAN)

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