PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Debold M. Sinas has reiterated his directive for all 17 Police Regional Offices and the different PNP National Support Units to pursue an unrelenting war on drugs focusing their sight on ‘high-value targets and individuals’ this year.
Sinas also ordered all 17 Police Regional Offices and the different PNP national operational support units to assist the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG) headed by Brigadier Gen. Ronald O. Lee in its mission in full coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) headed by Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva.
The directive called on the above-named units to join the PNP-DEG in going after ‘HVTs’ in any part of the country.
Last year, the PNP-DEG and the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) fully partnered with each other in smashing a number of major drug rings in Metro Manila, the last of which saw joint NCRPO-PNP-DEG agents conducting an anti-narcotics operation which resulted in the killing of four heavily-armed HVTs and the seizure of 40 kilograms of shabu worth P272 million in Taguig City.
On New Year’s Eve, PNP-DEG operatives neutralized a West African drug syndicate operating in the country following an anti-narcotics operation in Concepcion, Tarlac which led to the killing of an armed Nigerian national and the seizure of two kilograms of shabu worth P13.6 million.
“Our campaign against illegal drugs is so serious that we have been connecting the dots to establish links of the drug syndicates so that we could burn their illegal plans outright,” said Sinas as he commended agents of the PNP-DEG for their string of successful operations against ‘HVTs’ in the country.
According to the PNP chief, undercover officers of the PNP-DEG were about to arrest suspect Gabriel Onyechefula after he sold the drugs at the parking lot of a videoke bar in Bgy. Jefmin, Concepcion municipality 1 a.m. last Thursday when the African national pulled out a machine pistol and tried to shoot the poseur prompting back-up officers to return fire.
The suspect suffered a gunshot wound in the abdomen and died on the spot. Recovered from his possession were three knot-tied plastic bags containing two kilos of the prohibited drugs worth P13.6 million, the boodle money topped by two marked P1,000 bills and a caliber 9mm machine pistol with a magazine containing several live ammunition.
Lee said that prior to the sting, they hatched the operation to get the African national and his local contact known only as ‘Kingsley.’ The latter is still being hunted as of press time.
Lee said the suspects are known for their involvement in the trafficking of shabu and cocaine in the country where they have gained notoriety for hiring Filipinos as drug ‘mules.’
Members of the PNP-DEG Special Operations Units 1,2 and 8 coordinated their operation with the Concepcion Municipal Police Station and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the official said.
A series of anti-narcotics operations in the country conducted by operatives of the PNP-DEG also led to the arrest of nine ‘HVTs,’ four of them facing non-bailable drug charges and the seizure of over P3.5 million worth of shabu.
“This is part of our all-out campaign against illegal drug trafficking and most wanted persons despite the holiday season,” Sinas told the Journal Group.
According to the top cop, members of the PNP-DEG arrested two of the suspects who are both teenagers during a buy-bust in Sitio Alumnus Seaside in Bgy. Basak, San Nicolas, Cebu City 11 p.m. Wednesday.
The sting conducted by undercover officers of the PNP-DEG Special Operations Unit 5 with the help of the Regional Drug Enforcement Unit 7 and the PDEA led to the arrest of the 16-year-old and 17-year-old suspects after they delivered some 200 grams of shabu worth P1.360 million to a poseur, said Gen. Sinas.
A record check showed that the two have no pending drug-related cases nor any derogatory record with the local police triggering suspicions they were merely used by local drug syndicates to transport the shabu since they won’t immediately attract police attention due to their young age.
Another sting in Poblacion, Talisay City, Cebu 6 p.m. Thursday led to the arrest of Jamel Tabasa,26; Edgar Quiachon,28; and Rodney Delfino,43; all local residents after they conspired to sell shabu to an undercover operative from the PNP-DEG SOU 5.
Recovered from the trio were around 325 grams of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ valued at P2.210 million.
Sinas said that Delfino is an ambulance driver who uses his authority as a “frontliner” to evade detection of his illegal drug activities. The PNP chief said Delfino was one of many “bodegeros” or warehousemen of known drug lord Wesley Chua who is now being held at the Cebu City jail following his arrest for selling over P10 million worth of shabu to an undercover police officer last February.
Sinas said Chua is believed to be still operating his drug network thru Delfino who reportedly operates in the areas of Metro Cebu and nearby areas of Naga, Minglanilla and San Fernando. Proceeds of Delfino’s drug activities are remitted thru an account with a commercial bank, he said.
Lee said they are still checking information that the shabu recovered from the two juvenile delinquents also came from a syndicate being run by a group of jailed drug personalities in Central Visayas.
Members of the PNP-DEG SOU2 headed by Lieutenant Colonel Nestor Cusi arrested 37-year-old security guard Alfonso Mirabueno in his residence in Bgy. Kay-buto in Tanay, Rizal on the strength of a warrant of arrest for sale and possession of prohibited drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 3:30 p.m. last Wednesday.
Lee said a team from SOU2 led by Lieutenant Arniel Buraga, with the assistance of officers from the Police Regional Office 4-A headed by Brig. Gen. Felipe R. Natividad arrested the suspect who is the subject of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Sheila Marie Ignacio of the Morong, Rizal Regional Trial Court Branch 80 last November 24. No bail was recommended for the temporary liberty of the suspect.
Another suspect identified as Mark Kevin Gonzaga, a 25-year old jobless resident of Bgy. Patun-an in Calatrava, Negros Occidental who has been described as a ‘high-value individual’ in Western Visayas was arrested on the strength of a warrant of arrest for violation of Section 5 of RA 9165 issued by Judge Reginald Fuentebella of the San Carlos City RTC Branch 59.
No bail was recommended for the liberty of the accused who was arrested by members of the PNP-DEG SOU 7. The suspect is now being held at the Calatrava Municipal Police Station lock-up facility.
The two other suspects identified as Sonny Augusto,30; and Wendell Masbang,20, both residents of Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City were arrested by operatives of the DEG SOU 5 led by Lt. Col. Warren Dablo.
“These arrests were part of our continuing effort to account for most wanted drug personalities in the country as ordered by PNP chief, Gen. Sinas who had made it clear he wants to jail all drug personalities covered with warrants of arrest for drug offenses,” said Lee.