If the count of persons daily placed inside body bags is a certain measure of success, then the Duterte administration-driven campaign versus the proliferation of illegal drugs is a calculated success in Bicol. It seems.
The rising death count is becoming a source of accomplishment for police officials in the region.
Police regional director Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe said that the drive went full force just right after President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.
So that from July 1 until Oct 11 of this year there were 600 drug personalities arrested, of whom 63 were killed in police operations.
As of midweek, the death toll continue to rise, including the recent death of a barangay captain in Daraga, Albay, as confirmed by the top official of the Philippine National Police in the region.
Buenafe identified the fatality as Rommel Marticio, the barangay captain of Inarado village.
The victim allegedly resisted arrest and drew his .38-caliber revolver at a policeman posing as a buyer on Tuesday afternoon in his house.
The narcotics operatives had to shoot the suspect, killing him instantly, said the report.
The victim was an alleged suspect as drug peddler listed in the provincial drug watch list.
He even surrendered under Oplan Tokhang but afterwards, allegedly continued with his drug peddling.
Marticio was even considered a high value target wanted by the authorities according to Chief Insp. Arthur Gomez, of the investigation division of Albay police.
Recovered from the victim were a sachet of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), drug paraphernalia, his .38-cal. and live ammunitions.
Much earlier, Marticio was placed under surveillance before the operation by the joint elements of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Group, Regional Intelligence Unit, Provincial Intelligence Branch, Provincial Public Safety Company, Military Intelligence Branch and Daraga Municipal Police Office.
It took these much group effort to pin down one alleged suspect, after all.
That recent incident just proved the PNP’s suspicion.
For in Albay alone more than 150 barangay officials, much of them elected councilmen, accredited barangay tanod, and barangay captains, are involved in drug trade in the province, according to the Provincial Police Office.
Provincial police spokesperson Arthur Gomez confirmed that more than 150 village officials have surrendered to the PNP since the drug campaign started.
Of the known numbers 77 are councilmen, 57 tanods and 19 barangay chairpersons, 2 treasurers and 3 secretaries in their drug watchlist.
Gomez added that they have recorded two councilors in the watchlist in the municipal level. (From PNA report)