Three drug suspects were killed and a total of P68 million in shabu was seized in a buy-bust in Barangay Campo 4 in Talisay City, Cebu, on Thursday, BGen. Remus Medina, Drug Enforcement Group director, said.
The operation was conducted at 9 p.m. by the Philippine National Police-Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG), Special Operations Unit in Central Visayas, Regional Intelligence Division in Central Visayas, Cebu City Intelligence Unit, Cebu City Police Office, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Visayas, Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit in Central Visayas, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas, Highway Patrol Group in Central Visayas (HPG-7) and Cebu City Mobile Force Company.
The buy-bust led to an armed encounter, which resulted in the death of the three suspects.
According to Medina, one of the suspects identified as “Levon” sold two kilos of shabu to a poseur buyer for P2.8 million, but the latter sensed he was transacting with a policeman.
After the sale, Levon drew his firearm and fired at the undercover policeman and at the vehicle where the other police operatives were waiting.
The lawmen returned fire, but Levon and the two other unidentified suspects managed to slip into a silver Toyota Vios with no license plate and fled.
Hot pursuit operations quickly followed as police and a team from the HPG-7 intercepted the said vehicle at Barangay Taptap, Cebu City.
Instead of yielding, the suspects fired at responding policemen, prompting the latter to return fire leading to the deaths of the former.
There were no reported injuries on the PNP side.
Confiscated were 10 kilos of shabu with an estimated value of P68,000,000, one black travelling bag, one silver Toyota Vios with no license plate, one long firearm, two short firearms, and a buy-bust money.
Medina said the source of the contraband was in Myanmar and the suspects who were under surveillance for a month having distributed shabu in Cebu and other regions.
According to Medina, Levon was reportedly a hitman of Cebu top drug suspect Franz Sabalones.
In an interview, the Commission on Human Rights in Central Visayas (CHR-7) said the killing of the suspects in the buy-bust was alarming.
“I instructed the investigation division (of CHR-7) to monitor and start the investigation,” lawyer and regional director Arvin Odron of CHR-7 told The Manila Times.
“The alleged shootout, it alarms us. It means there are people in the community who have criminal minds. They are bent on attacking our law enforcers. Just the same, there were those who died in the hands of the government. We will look into it if they followed the protocol because that is our purpose,” Odron said.
He added if the police officers followed the protocol, then there was no apparent human rights violation.
“If they see abuses, they will recommend filing of cases against those involved in the operation,” Odron said.