Cebu remains hot spot for drugs–PNP chief
CEBU CITY — Despite the government’s intensified antinarcotics campaign, Cebu province remains a hot spot for the illegal drug trade, according to Director General Oscar Albayalde, Philippine National Police chief.
“No less than the President has said that the severe drug problem continues to flourish in the province [of Cebu] despite our intense campaign against illegal drugs,” he said in a speech delivered before more than 100 policemen at the headquarters of the Central Visayas regional police office here last week.
“And what is more disturbing is that there are still a lot of policemen who are involved in this illicit activity,” he added.
Albayalde did not cite figures but gave a stern warning to all policemen to stop any involvement in the drug trade.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña was not happy with Albayalde’s statement.
Osmeña said he was disappointed with Albayalde for making it appear that the illegal drug situation in Cebu City had not improved despite the series of antidrug operations conducted by the local police.
“If he’s singling out Cebu, he’s wrong. Every place is a hot spot to me. Don’t single out Cebu because our chief of police (Senior Supt. Joel Doria) has more buy-bust (operations) than the rest of the country,” the mayor said in a press conference at Cebu City Hall on Monday.
He said he would ask Doria to submit an accomplishment report about their operations against illegal drugs. Osmeña said he was planning to send a report to Albayalde so the PNP chief would have an idea of what the local police had done to eradicate illegal drugs in the city.
“I have these reports (of anti-illegal drug operations). I receive them every day. We will match it with reports from any place in the country. These accomplishment reports are longer than his (Albayalde’s) table. I tell you that,” he said. “When I became mayor (in 2016), we killed the first two drug lords in the country. To say that we’re a hot spot, possible. But don’t make it appear like we’re the worst. Jaguar (Jeffrey Diaz) is dead. Yawa (Rowen Secretaria) is dead. And we got nine out of 10 drug lords killed,” he added.
Secretaria, who ranked third among the top drug personalities in Cebu City, was killed in a police operation on Banacon Island in Bohol province on May 28, 2016, three weeks after President Duterte won the presidential election.
Diaz, considered to be the top drug lord in Central Visayas, allegedly operated for years before he was gunned down by Cebu-based policemen in an operation in Las Piñas City on June 17, also in 2016.
Albayalde called on the local police to do their best to contain, if not to eradicate, the illegal drug trade in Cebu.
“I urge you to step up your campaign in fighting the evils of illegal drugs,” he said, noting that it would entail discipline to carry out this task.
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