Over 10,000 drug suspects surrender in Pampanga

Jun A. Malig

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Over 10,000 drug suspects surrender in Pampanga
'It's good that you surrendered to us because there are only 3 things that can happen to you: Die, surrender, or get arrested,' says Police Regional Office 3 director Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Over 10,000 self-confessed drug pushers and users on Thursday, July 21, surrendered to authorities and voluntarily joined the provincial government’s Dalan king Pamagbayu (Road to Change) program.

About 8,500 of them were presented to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in a ceremony prepared for Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa at the Bren Z. Guiao Sports Complex grandstand.

Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) director Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino represented Dela Rosa, who was unable to attend as he had to go to another engagement.

Aquino reminded the drug suspects that the PNP is dead serious in its all-out campaign against illegal drugs.

Tandaan ‘nyo, ang kapulisan ay hindi nakikipag-bolahan sa inyo. Mabuti at nandito kayo at sumurender sa amin kasi 3 lang ang maari nyong puntahan: Mamatay kayo, sumurender kayo, o maaresto kayo,” he told them drug suspects.

(Remember, the police are not joking around with you. It’s good that you surrendered to us because there are only 3 things that can happen to you: Die, surrender, or get arrested.)

Take oath seriously

He rebuked some of them for appearing to be taking things lightly when they took their “sworn affidavit of promise and change.”

Kanina lang noong panunumpa, ang daming hindi nanunumpa sa inyo. Ngayon pa lang nakikita ko ang titigas ng ulo ninyo. ‘Yung iba nakaupo lang, samantalang ang nasa harapan talagang nanumpa,” he told them.

(Earlier, at the oath-taking, many of you didn’t take your oath. This early, I can see how hard-headed you are. Others were just sitting around, while those in front really took their oath.)

He reminded them that from July 1 to July 21, a total of 10,194 drug suspects have surrendered to the police and almost 30,000 in Central Luzon region. He said some 1,000 drug suspects were arrested, while 65 who resisted arrest were killed.

When Aquino asked them, “Gusto ‘nyo bang mamatay rin kayo (Do you also want to die)?” the drug suspects replied, “Hindi (No)!” 

To stay alive, he said the drug suspects must stop using and selling illegal drugs. He told them that the police now have their real names, addresses and other information, making it easier to go after them should they revert back to their old habit and practice.

He said the police and the military will conduct joint anti-drug operations in the future.

Kaya hindi lang bala ng 9mm ang tatama sa inyo, pati bala ng M16 at M14 ay tatama sa inyo (You won’t only be hit by ammunition from 9mm weapons, even that of M16s and M14s),” the regional police director told the drug suspects.

Aquino also said the PRO3 has identified about 100 policemen in various parts of Central Luzon allegedly involved in illegal drugs as either drug pushers, users, or protectors.

Itatapon namin ang mga pasaway na mga pulis na ito sa Basilan at sila ang ilalaban naming sa mga Abu Sayyaf doon. Tuwang-tuwa nga si Presidente (Rodrigo) Duterte nang malaman na itatapon ang mga pulis na ito sa Basilan,” he said.

(We will assign these rogue policemen to Basilan and let them fight the Abu Sayyaf there. President Duterte was very happy when he learned that these policemen would be sent to Basilan.)

For her part, Governor Lilia Pineda thanked the drug suspects for deciding to participate in the program. She also asked them to convince other drug pushers and users to also avail of the program.

Central Luzon campaign

On Tuesday, PRO3 reported that 60 drug personalities were shot dead and a total of 26,479 drug pushers and users surrendered to the police in the 7 provinces of Central Luzon from July 1 to 19. 

According to police reports, the suspects gunned down by the police either allegedly drew their guns or fired shots at authorities as they resisted arrest or a search of their residences in compliance with  court-issued warrants. 

Some 596 persons were also arrested in anti-drug operations in different parts of the region from July 1 to 19.

Deadly weapons confiscated from drug suspects and suspected criminals for the same period include 14 high-power firearms, 59 low-power guns, two hand grenades, and several hundred pieces of bullets.

On Monday, Aquino said the PNP’s targets in the war against drugs include local government officials who are alleged financiers or protectors of drug traders. 

He refused to disclose the names of local officials in Central Luzon suspected to be involved in illegal drugs, but said some mayors and several village chiefs are among the suspects.

Central Luzon has 16 cities, 116 towns, and 3,102 villages.

A 2014 Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) report showed that 27% of Central Luzon’s villages were drug-infested. It said 193 of these villages are in Pampanga, 189 in Nueva Ecija, 159 in Tarlac, 97 in Bulacan, 94 in Bataan, 72 in Zambales, and 42 in Aurora. – Rappler.com

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