The Philippine Star

5 killed since PNP rejoined drug war

- By CECILLE SUERTE FELIPE – With Marvin Sy, Raymund Catindig

Five persons were reported killed as the Philippine National Police (PNP) rejoined the war on drugs from December to the first week of January 2018.

In its report, the PNP National Oversight Committee on illegal drug accomplish­ments showed that five persons were killed nationwide from Dec. 5, 2017 to Jan. 4, 2018.

The PNP Public Informatio­n Office (PIO) could not yet provide specific informatio­n about the five slain individual­s, who died during police operations.

The PNP NOC reported a total of 1,096 drug personalit­ies were arrested in 708 police operations nationwide during the same period.

The same report showed there were only nine Oplan Tokhang activities conducted so far and 10 self-confessed drug personalit­ies have surrendere­d.

A police officer was killed and another was wounded during the police anti-illegal drug operations, the report added.

The PNP NOC reports are based on informatio­n submitted by police regional offices.

In Northern Luzon, motorcycle-riding gunmen shot dead yesterday a tricycle driver in Barangay Buena Suerte, Cauayan City, Isabela.

Police identified the victim as John Christian Pasion, 29, who surrendere­d to Oplan Tokhang last year. Pasion died on the spot while the suspects fled after the shooting.

Last Tuesday, tricycle driver Eugene Mauricio was gunned down by motorcycle riding assailants in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. Police said Mauricio was also in the police watch list of illegal drugs users and traders.

Meanwhile, about P120 million worth of cocaine was recovered from a floating plastic container in the waters of Matnog, Sorsogon, police said yesterday.

Senior Supt. Ronald Cabral, Sorsogon police director, said the substance, wrapped in 24 pieces of plastic packaging and placed inside a plastic container, was found by fishermen in Barangay Calintaan in Matnog late Wednesday afternoon.

Cabral noted that the fishermen claimed they did not see anyone near the floating container, thus there was no arrest made.

Earlier, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said he would use his term extension to arrest more drug personalit­ies.

Dela Rosa said he just received the written order from Malacañang about his term extension on Dec. 30.

He was supposed to retire on Jan. 21 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56, but President Duterte extended his term of office.

He vowed to observe caution and take all the lessons learned from previous incidents in the fight against illegal drugs.

At the same time, Dela Rosa said the PNP would also hasten the procuremen­t of body cameras to protect both policemen and drug personalit­ies from wrong accusation­s, harassment and abuses.

Sen. Leila de Lima said yesterday that the war on drugs of the Duterte administra­tion is a sham based on recent developmen­ts showing how large-scale transactio­ns of illegal drugs continue to thrive in the country.

In a statement, De Lima cited the recent revelation made by the Philippine Drug Enforcemen­t Agency (PDEA) that a drug lord inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa was behind the shipment of one ton of shabu on board a Taiwanese vessel that was tracked by the United States Drug Enforcemen­t Administra­tion on its way to the Philippine­s last November.

De Lima said this, coupled with the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China through the Bureau of Customs earlier this year was suspicious and “bordering on maleficent.”

“How can this government succeed in its unrelentin­g campaign to end illegal drugs menace when it could not even stop convicted drug lords under its custody from conducting their business?” added De Lima, who is currently detained on drug-related charges.

De Lima recalled how during her time as justice secretary, she launched operations to strip the luxuries and logistics of highprofil­e inmates inside the NBP and their segregatio­n from the general prison population.

She said that the previous administra­tion also jumpstarte­d the plan to transfer the NBP to a modern prison facility, which she said would address the problem of prison-based criminalit­y.

“But instead of pursuing or building on these initiative­s, this administra­tion, desperate in its fabricated charges against me, struck a deal with these convicted drug lords – their testimonie­s of lies in exchange for the restoratio­n of their privileges which enabled them to resume their illegal drug operations,” De Lima said.

“It was a perfect pact with the devil which was instrument­al in my unjust detention. It also exposed this regime’s war on drugs as fraud with only the powerless and competitor­s as targets, while allies and those willing to ‘cooperate’ remain scot-free and given posts in government,” she added.

With President Duterte regularly asking for an extension of his deadline to solve the problem of drugs and the resurgence of narcotics within the NBP, De Lima said that the administra­tion’s war on drugs appears to be mere propaganda.

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