SEIZED. The two pouches of suspected shabu worth about PHP1.368 million and the cache of firearms seized from the suspects who were killed in a shootout with police operatives during a buy-bust in Manapla, Negros Occidental on Monday. (Photo courtesy of DYHB Tatak RMN page)
BACOLOD CITY -- Police operatives recovered PHP1.37 million worth of suspected shabu and a cache of firearms after the buy-bust operation that claimed the lives of four drug suspects in Manapla, Negros Occidental on Monday morning.
Col. Romeo Baleros, director of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, said in a press briefing at the Manapla Municipal Police Station that about 171 grams of shabu were recovered in the hideout of slain high-value target Alson Aguirre.
“His (Aguirre’s) wife said the illegal drugs recovered were just part of the entire supply in his possession. The rest have already been delivered,” he added.
Among the firearms seized was a government-issued M-16 Armalite rifle along with two .45-caliber pistols, one .38-caliber revolver, and a .45-caliber submachine gun (Grease Gun), as well as 27 rounds of live ammunition and four magazines.
Also confiscated were mobile phones, two-way radio handsets, and some cash.
“You have seen these recovered firearms, can we say that the lives of policemen are not in danger? Then they (critics) will say that this is extra-judicial killing,” Baleros said.
In fact, one of the operatives, whom Baleros refused to name, was hit on the chest, but he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
“If the policemen are thoroughly and completely briefed before the operation, no one will get injured among them because they would know how to deal with an armed group,” the provincial police chief said.
Baleros added that they are requesting for ballistic and paraffin examinations as part of the ongoing investigation.
Aside from Aguirre, who was included on the watch list as the sub-leader of the Divinagracia drug group based in Silay City, the three other fatalities were identified as Ruben Pinoy, Milo Flores, and Renante Sombero.
“They are organized given how equipped they are,” Baleros said.
Aguirre’s hideout, located amid the sugarcane and rice fields in Hacienda Bariw and about three kilometers from the national highway, has been described by Baleros as “very strategic for illegal drug transactions”.
He added that when the operatives entered the area, farm overseer Jun Española tried to stop them. When frisked, Española yielded an unlicensed .45-caliber pistol.
“Our operation was successful. We thank the people in the village. If not for their help, we could not have neutralized and paralyzed the operation of Aguirre in Manapla,” Baleros said.
He added that the personnel of Manapla Municipal Police Station, headed by Capt. Julius Caesar Colado, will be given commendation for their major accomplishment.
“The group of Aguirre (could have been) converted into a partisan armed group especially this coming elections, so this is a very significant accomplishment of the Manapla Municipal Police Station,” Baleros said. (PNA)