Anti-drug war in Cagayan: Mayor's son, village chairman surrender
CAGAYAN, Philippines – The son of Ballesteros mayor and vice mayor surrendered as a "drug user," while a barangay chairman and his brother from the same town yielded to authorities as drug pushers on Wednesday, July 13.
King Unite, son of Ballesteros town Mayor Vincent and Vice Mayor Violeta Unite, surrendered to authorities under "Oplan Tokhang" of the Philippine National Police.
“TokHang” is a contraction of “toktok” and “hangyo” – Visayan words for “knock” and “request,” respectively. It refers to the strategy of the police nationwide to go house-to-house in their jurisdictions and convince known drug pushers and users to surrender and be given an opportunity for rehabilitation.
Unite reportedly signed a memorandum with the police to help them capture the bigger fish in the drug trade in Cagayan.
Ballesteros police chief Senior Inspector Stanley Banan said authorities are still investigating Unite for possible involvement in the drug trade itself, as he is in the watch list of suspected top drug personalities in the town.
Edmundo Uclos, chairman of Barangay Mabuttal West in Ballesteros town, and his brother, Arnulfo, surrendered as drug pushers.
Arnulfo had been charged in 2012, but his drug case was dismissed.
Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, who vowed to support the anti-drug campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte, said the police "should revalidate the information of their participation in drug trading," referring to the surrenderees.
Mamba said he believes that the drug operation in the town is linked to narcopolitics in the province, since Unite is a son of a mayor and a vice mayor, and Uclos is a village chairman. (READ: Cagayan governor: Politicians 'big protectors' of drug lords)
Meanwhile, Police Chief Inspector Chevalier Iringan, information officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Cagayan Valley, said more than 1,500 surrendered under the Oplan TokHang in the region.
Isabela led the count with 833 drug surrenderees; Cagayan, 281; Nueva Vizcaya, 204; Quirino, 109 and Santiago City, 78.
Thousands of drug suspects in the country have surrendered to police since the assumption into Duterte, who vowed to eradicate the drug menace in 3 to 6 months. There has also been an observed rise in the killing of drug suspects during police operations since the former Davao city mayor won the presidency. – Rappler.com