Central Visayas top cop: Leave drug operations to police
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Are there drug personalities in your neighborhood? Police Regional Office-7 Director Noli Taliño called on the public not to take the law into their own hands and to let the police do their jobs.
"Yung puwede lang mag-implement ng ating batas ay 'yung PNP (Philippine National Police), kaya nananawagan kami sa public kung may mga puwede mag-witness about 'yung mga ganitong krimen (extrajudicial killings) ay open 'yung opisina sa kanila para ma-solve 'yung mga krimen na ito," he said during a press conference on Friday, September 2.
(The only ones who are authorized to implement the law are the PNP, so we are calling on the public who may have witnessed extrajudicial killings [to go to] our office, so we can solve these crimes.)
Out of 188 drug-related deaths in Central Visayas, 99 were committed by unknown assailants. The rest were deaths that happened during legitimate police operations.
"We believe that with most of these incidents, the murders are committed by the crime syndicates themselves," Taliño said in Filipino.
Last week, police in Cebu City were able to arrest a suspect for the murder of a person who was on the drug watch list. (READ: Cebu City top cop: Drug syndicates behind killings)
In a Senate hearing on August 19, PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said that police were investigating the deaths of 899 drug-related deaths nationwide. They had also filed 22 cases in Metro Manila over vigilante-style deaths. (READ: Dela Rosa: PNP investigating vigilante-style deaths)
According to Taliño, Central Visayas ranked number 1 in the country's "Double Barrel" anti-drug program, which Dela Rosa described as a project that targets both low-level personalities such as users and pushers and high-level personalities such as drug lords.
Since July 1, 696 drug pushers and 779 users have been arrested. Police have also confiscated 3539.41 grams of shabu, worth at least P41 million. Drug violation cases have reached 1,626, while 48,748 homes have been visited by police since Oplan Tokhang began.
“TokHang” is an operation where cops knocked on the doors of suspected drug users and dealers to dissuade them from using or selling drugs.
During that same period, 72,097 drug personalities have voluntarily surrendered to police. Of that number, only 4,985 admitted that they were drug pushers, while the rest described themselves as users.
One problem facing the Visayas is the lack of drug rehabilitation centers. According to Michael Dino of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, his office is working with private hospitals to treat drug users. – Rappler.com