The relentless war against illegal drugs launched by President Rodrigo Duterte has "neutralized" a total of 366 drug suspects in Central Visayas in the second half of 2016 or the first six months of Duterte's presidency, an official said.
Chief Superintendent Noli Talino, Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 director, said that from July 1 to December 8, a total of 149 drug suspects were killed in legitimate police operations, while 217 were killed by unidentified assailants.
The 217 were considered as DUIs or deaths under investigation, Talino said.
A record number of 91,856 drug pushers and users surrendered to the police under "Oplan Tokhang" and 4,306 drug suspects were arrested during the same period, he said.
But even before Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, implemented the war against drugs, several suspected big-time drug dealers and drug lords have been killed by the police in the region.
Notable among them were the deaths of suspected drug lord Rowen Secretaria, also known as "Yawa," and his two accomplices and Jeffrey Otom Diaz, also known as "Jaguar" and one of his accomplices.
Yawa (Cebuano for devil) and his two accomplices were killed after they allegedly engaged in a shootout with the police during an anti-drug operation in Banacon Island, Getafe, Bohol, last May 28.
He was reportedly one of the 10 most wanted drug personalities in Cebu City and was operating in Barangay Pasil, Cebu City.
Yawa allegedly opened fire after seeing the coming operatives.
Police recovered a KG-9 assault pistol from him, and a .45 cal. pistol and two .38 cal. revolvers from his accomplices.
Jaguar, said to be one of Cebu's biggest drug lords, was shot dead by Regional Intelligence Division (RIG) 7 operatives and Las PiAas City police along with one of his accomplices at corner Gem and Narra Road, Pilar Village in Barangay Almanza, Las PiAas City, on June 17.
Diaz was killed barely a week after he granted an interview to the media in an undisclosed location where he said he no longer dealt drugs and planned to surrender to the police.
The actual target of the operation was a certain Alvaro Alvaro alias "Barok," the number one drug personality in that region.
However, it was Diaz who was flagged down by the police and killed in the encounter together with Paul Vincent Gloria, 26, who served as his driver and bodyguard.
Just a few days later on June 20, Alvaro surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation in Bohol.
Police said Alvaro is one of the top 4 drug personalities in the province, a drug player operating in northern Cebu who got his drug supply from Diaz.
He is also believed to be involved in the murder of former Poro Police Station chief, Senior Inspector Jonas Tahanlangit who was shot dead last April.
On August 11, the brother of Barok and his accomplice Ronnie Castro, alias "Moning," were killed in a buy-bust operation in Danao City, Cebu on August 11.
Medz Alvaro, a suspected drug pusher, and Castro, both residents of Pulangyuta, Looc, Danao City, allegedly tried to shoot at policemen, forcing them to open fire.
Police said they found a 9mm cal. pistol with four live rounds, 15 small sachets of suspected shabu, and PHP1,200 cash from Medz Alvaro and a .45 cal. pistol with two live rounds, four small sachets of suspected shabu and PHP70 from Castro.
A few days later, unidentified gunmen strafed the Danao Police Station, an act blamed on Medz Alvaro's drug network, and even Barok, but the men responsible were never apprehended.
Source: Philippines News Agency