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Drug dealer hunted for shooting Mindoro cop

MIMAROPA policemen yesterday stepped up their hunt for a suspected drug dealer who shot and wounded an undercover officer during a buy-bust in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro last Tuesday.

On orders of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Debold M. Sinas, the Police Regional Office 4-B intensified their effort to track down the suspect identified as Jonas Galicia, a resident of Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro.

PRO4-B director, Brigadier Gen. Pascual G. Muñoz Jr. said Galicia fled on board a motorcycle after shooting Police Senior Master Sergeant Rolly Castellano of the Oriental Mindoro Police Provincial Intelligence Unit.

The policeman remained in critical condition after being hit by a bullet in the head.

It turned out that the suspect apparently sensed the ongoing operation to arrest him, pulled out a handgun and shot Castellano before fleeing.

“This incident shows the risks faced by anti-illegal drugs operatives when confronting drug suspects and members of drug syndicates who will not be captured without a fight,” PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi N. Usana quoted Sinas as saying as the latter instructed Muñoz to attend to the medical needs of Castellano.

In his operational guidance issued to PNP units when he assumed command as the 25th PNP chief last November 10, Sinas underscored the need for operating units to be equipped with protective gear when engaged in police operations.

The ‘poseur-buyer’ operatives in buy-bust operations, however, need to be on alert in case their target suddenly gets the suspicion that agents of the law are right in front of him, he said.

Sinas also ordered a stepped-up drug supply reduction initiatives in the country in anticipation of the increased demand for illegal drugs in the coming holiday season.

More aggressive eradication operations of clandestine marijuana farms are underway in traditional marijuana producing regions, he said.

This week, continuing police operations in the Cordillera region resulted in the uprooting and destruction of nearly 28,000 fully-grown marijuana plants and seedlings worth around P5 million in Kibungan and Bakun municipalities in Benguet, said Usana.