2 on Duterte drug list killed in South Cotabato raid
SANTO NIÑO, South Cotabato — Two drug suspects were killed while another was arrested during law enforcement operations here on Saturday dawn, police said on Sunday.
Another drug suspect, a private school administrator and alleged drug user, escaped in a separate raid by police serving a search warrant in North Cotabato province.
Chief Supt. Eliseo Tam Rasco, police regional director for Soccsksargen, identified the slain drug suspects as brothers Dennis Mark and June Jay, both surnamed Cabantud and residents of the village of Ambalgan here.
The Cabantud brothers, Mohammad Moto and Ramil Lastimoso were named in search warrants being served by police and agents of the regional Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) office.
Rasco said lawmen tried to present the warrant to the Cabantud brothers during an operation conducted past 2 a.m.
But two of the brothers “pulled handguns and fired at our troops that triggered a shootout,” Rasco said.
The brothers were initially wounded and rushed to a hospital in this town but were pronounced dead on arrival.
They were sons of incumbent village chair Bai Cabantud of Ambalgan village.
Recovered from the house of the Cabantuds were a .45-caliber pistol and one 9mm pistol with ammunition, nine sachets of suspected “shabu” (crystal meth) and paraphernalia.
Rasco said the Cabantud brothers were on President Duterte’s drug list.
They were also on the list of high-value targets of the regional PDEA office, Rasco said.
In a separate operation, also in the village of Ambalgan, police and PDEA agents were set to serve a search warrant on Moto, who was able to flee under cover of darkness as one of his companions traded shots with the law enforcement team.
Initially wounded during the gunfight was Ronnie Magon, described by police as a pusher working for Moto and also on Mr. Duterte’s drug list.
Police seized from him a homemade pistol and several sachets of crystal meth.
In yet another operation, Rasco said police were serving a search warrant on Lastimoso, who surrendered.
In Midsayap, North Cotabato, police arrested the administrator of the school Great and Mighty Learning Center of Midsayap Inc. during the serving of a search warrant in relation to Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
Rasco identified the suspect as Julius Caesar Dadiro Duque, who was arrested at 7 p.m. on Saturday inside the school compound in the village of Poblacion 4.
Recovered from Duque were four sachets of crystal meth and 48 empty sachets with meth residue.
Duque is now detained at the Midsayap police jail.
In earlier operations, nearly 40 people were arrested in separate operations throughout Southern Mindanao, according to police.
The most arrests were made in Davao Oriental province, where at least 32 persons were caught in the act of using drugs at a den in the village of Central in Mati City.
In Davao City, P15,000 worth of crystal meth was seized from two suspects—Ariel Buhisan, 28, and Johndee Fred Pandili, 35—during a buy-bust operation in the village of 76-A, according to Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz, Southern Mindanao police spokesperson.
A report from the Davao Oriental police said a team of policemen, antinarcotics agents, soldiers and Coast Guard personnel swooped down on a community in the village of Central in Mati City to serve a search warrant on brothers Ricky and Raymond Matundo.
The two were arrested after the raiding team found in their house several sachets of crystal meth and unlicensed handguns.
Also arrested were at least 30 other persons near the house, which police said operated as a drug den.
In Tagum City, police also arrested four suspects during a raid in the village of Madaum. —With a report from Frinston Lim
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