Tally in return of ‘Tokhang’ in Mindanao: 4 dead
The resumption of the Philippine National Police’s controversial antidrug “Oplan Tokhang” in parts of Mindanao has led to the killing of four suspects and arrest of several others in separate operations.
In Pikit town, North Cotabato province, two suspects were killed after police said they shot at law enforcers during a drug raid in the village of Batulawan.
The killings took place just days after relatives of two other suspects accused police of summary executions also during an antidrug operation.
The Pikit operation was not entirely bloody as police also arrested three other suspects during a raid at 3 a.m. on two houses in Batulawan.
Supt. Bernard Tayong, speaking for the North Cotabato police, said police were serving search warrants when five men ran out of one of the target houses and fired at the
Police fired back, hitting two suspects who were rushed to a hospital in Poblacion, another village, where they died. Three of the suspects surrendered.
Tayong identified the slain suspects as Andamen Sapalon, 40, and his brother, Pisko Kanda Sapalon, 30, both residents of Batulawan.
Tayong said Sapalon headed a local drug gang. Those arrested were Baina Taudin, Samer Samad and Johaina Labarios.
On Tuesday, two men identified as Sindatuk Baliwan and Jonathan Mangakoy were also killed in Kabacan town after they allegedly clashed with police during an antidrug operation.
‘Killed in cold blood’
But the suspects’ wives claimed that their husbands were victims of a rubout.
Amira, wife of Baliwan, insisted her husband was “killed in cold blood.”
In the town of Naawan, Misamis Oriental, police arrested three family members, including a village official, for drug pushing.
Senior Insp. Jaime Bastatas, team leader of the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit, said arrested were Annie Seriño, a village councilor of Linangkayan in Naawan; her husband, Zaldy, and their son, identified only as Bimbo.
Bastatas said police found five sachets of “shabu” (crystal meth), a rifle grenade, M16 bullets and the marked money that police used for the buy-bust operation.
Seriño said police planted the drugs and guns.
In the town of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao province, soldiers and antinarcotics agents arrested an alleged big-time drug peddler who had been operating near the headquarters of the Army’s 6th Infanty Division.
Datu Daffi Sinsuat was arrested after he fell for a buy-bust operation in the village of Lower Capiton, just 800 meters from the Army headquarters. —Reports from Edwin Fernandez and Divina Suson
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