Negros Oriental drug lord killed

Marchel P. Espina
Negros Oriental drug lord killed
Police say Lito Belandres belonged to the group of Cebu City drug lord Jeffrey 'Jaguar' Diaz, who was killed in a police operation in Metro Manila

NEGROS ORIENTAL, Philippines – The top drug suspect of this province was shot dead Friday morning, July 1, after he resisted arrest in his home in Barangay Calindagan, Dumaguete City.

Police said Lito Belandres belonged to the group of Cebu City drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, who was killed in a police operation in Las Piñas in Metro Manila on June 18.

Since Rodrigo Duterte became the evident winner in the presidential race in May, local executives and police forces had become aggressive in their anti-drug campaign. They were acting on Duterte’s instruction to kill drug suspects when they fight back.

The number of ambushed drug suspects – including persons whose identities were allegedly mistaken – has increased since. (READ: Drug suspect killings rise ahead of Duterte presidency)

Senior Inspector Ryan Jay Orapa, head of the Provincial Anti-Illegal Drugs Operations Task Group, said they swooped down on the suspect’s house in the slum at about 8:15 am. The policemen were acting on the search warrant issued by Dumaguete Regional Trial Court Judge Gerardo Pagui on June 30 against the suspect. 

He said the suspect tried to shoot at the police during the raid, prompting them to shoot back.

Recovered from the suspect’s house were 50 grams of shabu worth P500,000, a .38 caliber, drug paraphernalia, iPad, and a cellphone.

Orapa said that Belandres, who was a bigtime drug supplier, is considered as “level 2 pusher,” meaning he could dispose 200 grams to one kilo of shabu every week in Negros Oriental.

He said the drugs that Belandres supplied in the province came from Cebu: “They rent a private pumpboat to transport the illegal drugs.”

He said that the suspect had been under surveillance since 2003. “He has properties in Cebu and in Negros Oriental,” Orapa added.

The suspect didn’t stay in Dumaguete, and was mostly in Cebu. He only recently returned to his family’s house after Cebu’s Diaz was gunned down.

“When Diaz was killed, his group got separated,” Orapa said. 

Meanwhile, 80% of drugs in Negros Oriental came from the national penitentiary through a network, Orapa said. – 

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