Bulalacao to drug suspects: Don’t put up fight with cops
Jennifer P. Rendon (The Freeman) - September 5, 2018 - 12:00am

5 die in drug ops in a week

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — In a span of one week, five suspected drug personalities were killed in four police operations in Western Visayas.

With these deaths, Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, director of the Police Regional Office-6 (PRO-6), said the campaign against illegal drugs and other crimes would be sustained and unrelenting. “It is expected therefore that the number of arrested suspects will continue to increase as police operations continue,” he said.

On why suspects got killed, Bulalacao said: “It would all depend upon the decision of these armed criminals, whether to surrender peacefully or put up a fight with law enforcers,” he said.

“If they (suspects) decide to peacefully surrender then there will be no more deaths, but if they put up a fight against law enforcers then such number may increase beyond our control,” Bulalacao said.

As such, the PRO-6 top official said the police are appealing to criminals to stop their evil acts. “They should reform for good and surrender peacefully so that shootouts will be prevented, which is much favorable for them and our operatives, as we also want to avoid casualty among our operatives,” he added.

In three of four operations, police operatives reported that the suspects fought it out with guns and a hand grenade against the authorities, but some netizens expressed doubts if these suspects actually resisted arrest.

Facebook user Gonzaga Cherrymae said (translated from Hiligaynon): “The police are also involved in illegal drugs. That’s why, they’re killings their downlines. Our friends on top should act on it. The RDEU (Regional Drug Enforcement Unit) has lots of supply of grenade to plant (as evidence).”

But another Facebook user, Chad Taz, countered by saying that such insinuations of “planting of evidence” should be proven.

The claims that suspects could not have put up a fight came out after Duff, live-in partner of slain suspect Gabriel Poblacion insisted that he could not have fought the operatives. Before Poblacion was shot to death, Duff claimed to have heard Poblacion telling her: “Duff, just don’t cry.”

Poblacion, who was released from detention five days before the police operation, was killed in a buy-bust operation at 9:45 p.m. on Saturday at Zone 3, Barangay Tacas of Jaro district in Iloilo City.

Duff claimed they were about to sleep when they heard the incessant barking of dogs outside their house. They later heard someone claiming, “Dapa! Dapa!” (Get down! Get down!). They were then told to go out with her seven-month child, her parents, and a sibling.

Poblacion was left inside the house. She claimed to have heard Poblacion asking the operatives to spare his family because he was following what they wanted him to do. But shortly after, they then heard a burst of gunfire.

But Senior Inspector Kennith Bermejo, RDEU team leader, insisted that Poblacion drew a gun and even fired it upon learning that he was dealing with policemen.

Seven hours later, Jennifer Gobatanga, 32, and his cousin, Gayrell Gobatanga, 38, both of Barangay Ticud, La Paz district, Iloilo City, were killed in another buy bust operation at San Jose, Antique. Police said they were also armed with a .38-caliber revolver and a hand grenade.

On July 27, RDEU also conducted a buy bust operation at Molo district in Iloilo City. Suspected drug pusher Alex Blanca, Sr., 52, was also killed and was found with a firearm and a grenade.

Two days later, a suspected member of the Prevendido Drug Group died in an anti-narcotics operation in Pavia, Iloilo. But unlike the three operations, Richard Montefrio Gregori, 40, of Barangay Ungka 2, Pavia town in Iloilo yielded with a .45-caliber Norinco pistol. (FREEMAN)

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