Alarm raised over killings of drug suspects in Iloilo
ILOILO CITY — The Iloilo City Council has raised alarm over the rash of killings of suspected drug suspects by unidentified motorcycle-riding assailants.
In a resolution passed during its regular session on Tuesday, the council agreed to invite the city police chief for a briefing on the city’s peace and order situation.
The resolution, sponsored by Councilor Armand Parcon, cited killings and other crimes committed with impunity in just days.
The killings had caused “anxiety” among many residents, according to the resolution.
On the same day the resolution was passed, an unidentified assailant shot dead tricycle driver Gerardo Mamarion Jr. at a variety store in the village of Ungka in Jaro District.
A former drug user, Mamarion died from gunshot wounds in the head and chest.
Four days earlier, on Sept. 7, two drug suspects were separately gunned down in the city.
Four unidentified assailants in two motorcycles shot dead Donn Azucena at the village of Calumpang in Molo District.
Azucena, 39, who had presented himself to police as a drug user, was waiting for a jeepney ride with his wife when he was repeatedly shot.
Hours later, two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle repeatedly shot Rolando Puda at the village of Ingore in Lapaz District. He died at Western Visayas Medical Center from at least six bullet wounds.
The resolution was addressed to Senior Supt. Henry Biñas but Biñas was relieved from his post and reassigned to the regional police headquarters as part of a reshuffling of officers.
Senior Supt. Martin Defensor, the new city police chief, said he welcomed the invitation so he can present plans in solving the crimes.
He said Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police director, had already issued an order for police to solve the crimes.
Church leaders in Western Visayas had earlier raised alarm over the surge in the killing of drug suspects in police operations.
“Everybody should be alarmed,” said Msgr. Meliton Oso, executive director of Jaro Archdiocese Social Action Center.
He said the Church’s social action directors in Western Visayas “are alarmed at what is happening.”
He said while they support the war on drugs, they opposed summary executions.
Drug suspects were being killed in operations by police who were better armed and were trained to make arrests, he added.
“They could have maimed them if indeed the suspects attempted to fight back,” he said.
Antidrug police operations have led to the killing of six suspects in the last 10 days in Iloilo and Antique provinces.
At least 63 drug suspects had been killed in police operations in Western Visayas since July 2016.
More than 10 others have been killed by unidentified assailants.
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