DAVAO, Philippines – Seven people were shot dead Friday dawn, February 21, in a massive operation against illegal drug dens by police in Barangay Ilang, Davao City, authorities said.
At least 35 people, including a South Korean national, were arrested in the raid on 26 houses believed to be selling the banned drug methamphetamine hydrochloride, popularly known as “ice” or “shabu,” said Emerson Rosales, the regional chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
About 200 police and other lawmen – a combined team from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency – Region 11, Davao City Police Office, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) – took part in the biggest anti-drugs operation this year, he added.
At least 13 firearms, assorted explosives and banned drugs were also seized in the raid on the major trading city of Davao, he added.
“This part of town is notorious for drug pushers and many of them are armed,” Rosales said.
He defended the high number of fatalities, saying the suspects attempted to evade arrest, engaging the raiding team in a gunfight.
On Thursday, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte offered a reward for anyone who could provide information about the identity and activities of drug peddlers in the city.
Duterte also hinted that illegal drugs were being transported in the city by inserting the packages in smuggled rice shipments.
Chief Inspector Elizabeth Jasmin, the area’s police spokeswoman, said representatives from the justice department, the local government and even major TV broadcasters accompanied the raiding teams and would have noticed any abuses.
In the past, Philippine police have been accused of summarily shooting suspects and then saying they were killed while resisting arrest.
In July, two policemen were charged for killing two gangsters in their custody while 14 others were charged with trying to cover up their crime. – with reports from Karlos Manlupig and the Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
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