Reds, Moro rebs find common enemy: Drugs
TAGUM CITY—Communist and Moro rebels have launched separate campaigns against the illegal drugs in areas where they operate.
The New People’s Army, however, has started executing suspected drug suspects who, the guerrillas said, defied NPA warnings.
In Pantukan, Compostela Valley, authorities said suspected NPA rebels had executed four people last week for their involvement in the illegal drug trade.
The killings on Tuesday last week of Lloyd Canamo, Ramon de Gracia, Peneto Pacheco Sr. and Relmo Aguilar were condemned by local and police officials, who said extrajudicial killings are not acceptable.
Compostela Valley Gov. Arturo Uy on Friday said the victims were shot dead by unidentified men hours apart. Canamo was killed in the village of Kingking past 3 p.m., De Gracia was gunned down in Magnaga village past 5 p.m., Pacheco was killed an hour later in Kingking and Aguilar was dead by nightfall in Barangay Bongbong.
Uy said he believed the killings were meant to “discredit” local police.
Police sources said the armed men, who identified themselves as rebels, conducted the executions after the NPA sent letters to drug suspects in Pantukan telling them to report to the NPA camp in the province.
Some drug pushers have reportedly gone to the rebels’ lair and received stern warnings.
Those killed reportedly did not heed the rebel invitation. Two of them are also on a police drug watch list.
“It’s extrajudicial killing,” said Uy. “We condemn it,” he said.
The NPA has yet to issue a statement.
In Cotabato City, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) also directed its field commanders to help wage war on illegal drugs, especially methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu,” in Maguindanao and in areas covered by the government and the MILF ceasefire agreement.
The MILF central committee passed a resolution supporting the directive.
Recently, the MILF also put up antidrug campaign posters around Maguindanao, reminding residents that “illegal drug is the root of all evil.”
The MILF said it has the advantage in fighting drugs and addiction because, first, it is familiar with the people and has “good information on dealers and users.”
The MILF said it has reason to stop the drug trade because drug use and addiction are considered “haram” or forbidden.
“The Muslim faith is founded on the intellect, rational thought and good judgment. Anything that could jeopardize this is forbidden,” the MILF said, adding that Muslims are not even allowed to consume alcoholic drinks.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and Vice Gov. Lester Sinsuat, both leaders of the Alliance of Lumad, Iranun and Maguindanaon (Alim), said they support the MILF effort. Frinston Lim and
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