DESPITE the upcoming extension of a nationwide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the raging Covid-19 pandemic, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has not waned in their campaign against illegal drugs and criminalities in Mindanao.
Two fatalities in two separate police operations were reported within the first week of April. One of the victims was identified as Alexander Impas, alias Pawpaw, 24 years old and resident of Lower Madapo, Barangay 8-A, Davao City. The other fatality was a certain Dong Banto Kasim, 54 years old, married and resident of Barangay Upper Siling, Buluan, Maguindanao Province.
According to the report of the San Pedro Police Station in Davao City headed by PMaj Jack Tilcag that his troops conducted a buy-bust operation in the house of the suspect in the early dawn of April 2. He said that while the payment for a pack of marijuana was arranged by his men the suspect might have noted that he was transacting with police officers so he went inside his room and tried to get the .38 caliber revolver hidden under the pillow on his bed. But the police operatives were quick in neutralizing the suspect and shot the suspect dead.
Tilcag further said that the suspect was a noted drug pusher in the area that was why he was the target of massive surveillance by his men. Aside from being a drug pusher, the victim was allegedly linked also to various crimes like thief, robbery, and carnapping of motorcycles in the area of responsibility of San Pedro Police Station.
Meanwhile, the above story is replicated in Maguindanao province. In an interview with Maguindanao Police Provincial Director Col. Arnold Santiago, he said that in the morning of April 5, his men of the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit and operatives of the 40th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, conducted a buy-bust operation against the suspect Dong Banto Kasim in his house at Barangay Upper Siling. After the suspect allegedly handed over a pack of shabu to the military asset, the suspect sensed that he was dealing with a government operative. He suddenly ran away and engaged in a brief fire fight with the raiding team where he was fatally hit.
Recovered from the possession of the suspect and inside his residence were one unit 7.62mm M14 rifle and one packet of powdery substance believed to be shabu, estimated to have a street value of P20,000. Also recovered was a Honda XR150 motorcycle, color black without plate number. According to Col. Santiago that the suspect was also identified as leader of a gun-for-hire and drug-dealing syndicate and was involved in cases of robbery hold-up and thief of animals in the said area.
But the family of Kasim denied the allegations made by the PNP. They said that Karim was once a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Maguindanao and returned to work as ordinary farmer in his farm. However, the PNP said the recovered evidences would be presented to the proper court of justice in due time.
It is annoying that even during this state of calamity, drug pushers and criminals are plying their trade in the open.