February 22, 2018, 11:12 pm
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32 killed in drug war’s bloodiest day; Duterte says, ‘Let’s kill 32 every day’

OPERATIVES of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office killed 32 suspected drug pushers and arrested 107 others during another operation last Tuesday, the deadliest day so far of President Duterte’s unrelenting war on illegal drugs.

Only last Monday, 21 suspected pushers and users were also killed in Bulacan in a drug sweep that Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat, provincial police chief, dubbed as part of “one time, big-time” operations.

Duterte, under fire from activists, human rights groups and the international community for alleged extrajudicial killings that has left thousands dead, welcomed the latest batch of casualties, saying: “There were 32 killed in Bulacan in a massive raid, that’s good.” 

Speaking during the anniversary of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption in Malacañang, Duterte added: “Let’s kill another 32 every day. Maybe we can reduce what ails this country.”

He showed his narcopolitics list anew that he said has been updated this August. He said the list include several judges and almost all municipal mayors, and again mentioned the deaths of Albuera Mayor Espinosa and Ozamiz City Mayor Parojinog.

Duterte also reiterated that the involvement of local officials prompted him to oppose the holding of barangay elections.

“I’m telling you, if you call for barangay elections now, the drug people will win. They have money, they will buy… and the municipal mayors into it will begin to produce more shabu,” he said.

Only last week, Duterte claimed he cannot solve the drug war during his term, reneging on his campaign promise that he would solve it in months.

Political opponents of Duterte have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) accusing the president and top aides of crimes against humanity, arguing they failed to address allegations of widespread police abuses that have been brought to their attention.

Duterte has welcomed the ICC complaint, and said he is willing to rot in jail to protect Filipinos. He has often complained about human rights groups criticizing and undermining his campaign and said he would instead investigate them, or worse.

“If they are obstructing justice, shoot them,” he said during the VACC anniversary.

Bulacan has been a major target in the drugs war, with some 425 people killed and 4,000 offenders arrested, according to Caramat, making it the second-biggest hot spot in the crackdown outside of Metro Manila.

About 109 petty criminals, including street-level drug peddlers, were arrested and dozens of guns seized in police operations across Bulacan from Monday night until Tuesday afternoon, according to Caramat.

“We have conducted ‘one-time, big-time’ operations in the past, so far, the number of casualties and deaths, this is the highest,” Caramat told a news conference.

He the deaths were results of shootouts, and were not executions, as activists have often alleged.

“There are some sectors that will not believe us, but, we are open for any investigation. All we can say is that we don’t have any control of the situation. As much as possible, we don’t want this bloody encounter,” he said.

The intensity of the crackdown has alarmed the international community, and activists and human rights groups say police have been executing suspects and planting drugs and guns at crime scenes. Police and the government officials reject that.

Police also deny involvement in thousands of murders by mysterious gunmen, blaming them on gang turf wars, drug dealers silencing informants, or vigilantes targeting drug users.

Caramat said police conducted 49 sting drug operations in Bulacan that resulted in about 20 armed encounters. Ten other gunfights ensued when police tried to serve arrest warrants to suspects who fought back.

Caramat said 93 of those held were wanted for other crimes, as well as drugs offenses.

Caramat said of the 32 killed, 16 were on the drug watch list, two had surrendered under Oplan Tokhang, while the rest were newly-identified drug pushers.

The 66 operations – 49 buy-bust, 14 service of search warrants, and three checkpoints – also led to the confiscation of 234.34 grams of suspected shabu with a street value of P1.7 million; 77 grams of marijuana, two hand grenades, 34 assorted firearms, 114 pieces of ammunitions.

From July 1 last year up to July this year, Caramat said Bulacan operatives have killed 425 persons, arrested 4,046 drug users and pushers, encouraged the surrender of 42,158 users and pushers, seized 60 high-powered and 406 low-powered firearms, and recovered some P20 million worth of shabu.
 
QC DRUG DEALER KILLED 

A known drug dealer in Quezon City was killed in an alleged shootout with police in Barangay Tatalon late Tuesday night.

Quezon City Police District director Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar said the suspect, known only as “Junior,” was shot dead after he shot it out with policemen during a buy-bust operation on E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave. at about 11:20 p.m.

Eleazar said “Junior,” listed as No. 5 in the most wanted drug personalities of the Galas Police Station, was declared dead on arrival at the De Los Santos Medical Center while nobody among the cops was hurt.

Fifteen other suspected pushers and users were also nabbed in Quezon City, Makati and Pasig on Tuesday.

Arrested in Quezon City were Jolly Roque, 27; Felicidario Dalisay, 30; and Jason Artiaga, 34; Danny Sotto, 40; Joemar Jimenez, 43; Dondon Tayre, 25; and Rolando Geneta.

Nabbed in Makati were Ruel Espiritu, 37; Richard Bangcos, 36; and Alvin Mapola, 29; while arrested in Pasig were Malou Reyes; Edgar Rivero; Rowena Del Rosario; Hector Estioco; and Jovan Costumbrado. – Raymond Africa, Angela Lopez De Leon, and Christian Oineza
With Reuters 
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Column of the Day

Rappler’s continuing saga

By DAHLI ASPILLERA | February 23,2018
‘Without a court TRO against the SEC ruling, Rappler’s accreditation in Malacañang was considered revoked.” – Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra.’

Opinion of the Day

Duterte does not understand media’s role in a democracy

By ELLEN TORDESILLAS | February 23, 2018
‘This is funny if it didn’t violate the constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press.’