Philippine Daily Inquirer


- By Delfin T. Mallari Jr.

@dtmallarij­rINQ LUCENA CITY— Alarmed by the spate of drug-related deaths in police operations here, the Integrated Bar of the Philippine­s (IBP) in Quezon province has offered to help the victims’ families find the truth behind the killings.

“If the witnesses fear for their safety, we can refer them to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigat­ion) and be placed under the witness protection program,” lawyer Rodolfo Zabella Jr., IBP Quezon president, said in a statement last week.

In a span of eight days last week, four suspected drug pushers here were slain in separate drug busts led by the police. Police reports showed that these suspects resisted arrest and engaged policemen in shootouts (“nanlaban”).

Their families claimed that their loved ones were victims of extrajudic­ial killings.


“Is it natural for a person whowas alone, armed only with a ‘paltik’ (homemade gun) to shoot it out with several policemen armed with better firearms?” Zabella said.

“Without prejudging any investigat­ion on the cases, it can be readily seen that there is that pattern similar to other situations involving arrests of drug suspects,” Zabella added.

But Supt. Reydante Ariza, Lucena City police chief, dismissed accusation­s of wrongdoing against local policemen. “Their words against our words,” he said.

Councilor Rey Oliver Alejandrin­o urged policemen to submit to an independen­t investigat­ion.

“Whether or not the victims resisted arrest and they were first to fire at policemen, the fact remained that they were killed by a superior force,” Alejandrin­o, a human rights lawyer, said in a separate statement.

Records of the Lucena police showed that five suspected drug pushers were slain in buy-bust operations in 2016, two in 2017, and 24 from January to the second week of November this year.

Same story

From Nov. 5 to 12, four men who had surrendere­d to authoritie­s following the release of a government drug watch list were killed in police operations.

They were Roldan Laviña, 32, of Barangay Kanlurang Mayao (Nov. 12); Edilberto Jubac Jr., 33, of Ibabang Dupay (Nov. 8); Neil Arangoste, 28, of Dalahican (Nov. 7); and Ramil Moreno, 49, also of Dalahican (Nov. 5).

Police reports on these incidents carried the same story: “… instead of heeding the arresting officer, the suspect suddenly drew his revolver and fired [at] the poseur-buyer but missed, forcing the backup operative to retaliate resulting [in] the death of the suspect.”

Investigat­ors, according to these reports, recovered .38-caliber revolvers, bullet casings, marked money supposedly used in drug transactio­ns, and sachets of “shabu” (crystal meth) from the slain men.


Geraldine, Moreno’s wife, said her husband, a fisherman, was killed in front of their house.

“When I saw him still gasping, I pleaded with the policeman to help me bring him to the hospital. But instead, one of them … shot him one more time and finished him off,” she said.

Arangoste was slain in his mother’s house by armed men who she presumed to be policemen in street clothes.

Ariza maintained that these police operations were “legitimate,” noting that the slain men, who he said were drug pushers, resisted arrest and tried to kill policemen.

Ariza said all informatio­n concerning activities of drug suspects were provided by barangay officials. “We don’t know the targets. But we were told that they were all armed and dangerous,” he said.

 ?? —PHOTO COURTESY OF LUCENA CITY PNP ?? CRIME SCENE Apoliceman marks pieces of evidence found in the area where Roldan Laviña was killed.
—PHOTO COURTESY OF LUCENA CITY PNP CRIME SCENE Apoliceman marks pieces of evidence found in the area where Roldan Laviña was killed.

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