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Vigilantes out to get you, drug cops told

/ 01:03 AM July 10, 2016

CITY OF MALOLOS—Policemen involved in the illegal drug trade have started to fear vigilante groups, top police officials in Central Luzon said on Saturday.

“Policemen involved [in the sale of illegal drugs] now fear they will be [the] next target,” Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Central Luzon police director, said in a text message to Inquirer.

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Aquino was replying to a question about whether policemen have become a target for vigilantes, following the murder of PO3 Michael Lee Manalad, a policeman assigned to this city whose body was found in Meycauayan City in Bulacan province on Thursday. He was strapped with a sign linking him to the drug trade.

Official silence

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No official statement has been issued about a police operation to hunt down vigilantes.

“We wish they (corrupt policemen) will be frightened and they will stop,” said Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., acting Bulacan police director.

Caramat had said Manalad was under surveillance after he was named in a counter intelligence report on policemen in drugs.

He said fear could help change corrupt policemen. “We were not remiss in reminding them not to be associated with drug syndicates,” he said.

At least 100 policemen in Central Luzon are suspected to be in the payroll of drug syndicates or are drug users, according to a report that Aquino submitted to Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police, who visited Bataan province on Friday.

Two police officers in Bulacan became subjects of recent drug operations, according to police reports.

PO1 Franco Sagudong was arrested in a buy-bust operation in Marilao City on Jan. 28. PO1 Edison Liwag of Angat police, a drug suspect, was killed in San Rafael town in October last year.

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Frustration

Corruption in the police force is frustrating, said Supt. Raniel Valones, Sta. Maria town police chief.

He said corrupt policemen are the bigger menace to society. “They feed themselves using the salary paid for by taxpayers, and yet they destroy families by selling drugs,” he said.

“They should be eliminated,” he said.

Supt. Joel Estaris, San Miguel town police chief, said only policemen with criminal links should fear vigilantes.

From July 1 to 7, 3,000 confessed drug dealers and users had surrendered in Central Luzon, Aquino said.

Police arrested 304 people and killed 45.

From September 2015 to May 2016, two shabu labs were discovered in Angeles City and a distribution network from the Zambales provincial jail was busted. Carmela Reyes-Estrope and Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: "vigilantes", Central Luzon, Drugs, extrajudicial killings, Kill List, PNP, President Duterte, Regions
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