Vigilante killings remain unsolved
CEBU CITY—Unknown assailants had gunned down at least 65 suspected peddlers of illegal drugs over nearly two months since July 1 in Central Visayas, but police had not solved a single case or identified any single perpetrator.
“Investigations conducted by the local chiefs of police are still ongoing,” Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, police regional director, said on Monday.
Except for murder and homicide, the police regional office reported a decrease in almost all crimes in Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor, which its officials attributed to the Duterte administration’s relentless campaign against illegal drugs.
Total crime volume in the three provinces from January to July went down to 29,302, or by 6.9 percent, from last year’s 31,482. These involved cases of robbery, theft, rape, physical injuries and gambling.
In July, a month after President Duterte assumed his post, the figure drastically dropped to 4,264, or 447 lower (9.5 percent) than that of July 2015.
Taliño said he expected murder cases to go up in the next months due to the killings of drug suspects.
From July 1 to Aug. 21, 69 suspected drug pushers were killed in police operations in Central Visayas—31 in Cebu province, 14 in Cebu City, 11 in Bohol, eight in Mandaue City, and 5 in Lapu-Lapu City.
Cebu City had the biggest number of drug suspects killed by unknown assailants with 29, followed by Cebu province with 15, Bohol with 8, Lapu-Lapu with 7 and Mandaue with 6.
The police said it welcomed efforts by the Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas to look into all cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in the region.
From July 1 to Aug. 22, police mounted 751 operations against illegal drugs, resulting in the arrest of 1,130 people, and the filing of 1,295 cases in court. A total of 2,272 grams of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) with a street value of P26.5 million were confiscated.
Since the Philippine National Police implemented “Oplan Tokhang,” in which policemen knock on the houses of suspected drug peddlers and users, and persuade them to mend their ways, 66,018 users and 5,105 pushers had showed up at the police stations in the region. The numbers were higher than the more than 8,000 on the watch list of the police regional office.
“I’m surprised with the turnout of [people who surrendered]. But that just means, people know who and what they are. They know themselves better than the police do,” Taliño said.
Preparations are ongoing for another round of Oplan Tokhang. This time, drug users and pushers who live in condominiums and subdivisions will be targeted.
“No one is exempted in our campaign against illegal drugs. We don’t target just one sector but all,” Taliño said.
He said his office had received a total of P1.1 million in donations in support of its campaign. He withheld the identities of the donors for security purposes.
The official said he would give P10,000 to a policeman or unit which could “neutralize” personalities in the illegal drug trade.
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