THIS is beginning to sound so routine: another one bites the dust.
A suspected drug peddler died in yet another shootout with police authorities in Antique province.
Neptali Tibang was gunned down after he allegedly resisted anti-narcotics police in a shabu bust around 10 p.m. of July 14, 2018 at Sitio Bacolod, Barangay San Luis, Culasi town.
Tibang, also known as Alog, 46, of Barangay Condez, Culasi town, sustained five gunshot wounds on the chest and abdomen.
Combined forces of the Culasi Police Station and the Antique Police Provincial Office-Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (APPO-PDEU) carried out the operation against Tibang after he refused to surrender during the implementation of Oplan Tokhang.
Inspector Clark Philip Dinco, Culasi police chief, said the slain suspect was a newly-identified drug personality.
A suspected drug pusher who was previously arrested in Culasi town revealed that Tibang was his supplier.
“We asked him to surrender but he declined,” Dinco said.
During the operation, a police poseur-buyer and a civilian asset bought Tibang a sachet of suspected shabu for P500.
Dinco said that another police officer who served as back up was hiding near the area where the transaction took place.
“After the transaction was consummated, our poseur-buyer identified himself as a policeman and attempted to arrest the suspect,” he added.
But Tibang allegedly stepped back and pulled a caliber .45 pistol while fleeing to his makeshift hut.
“He fired thrice but failed to hit any of our two policemen and the civilian asset,” Dinco said.
He explained that Tibang might have had difficulty with his balance because the area was muddy due to the intermittent rain.
Dinco said the backup police officer traded shots with the suspect.
Tibang is the 55th person to be killed during anti-narcotics police operations in Western Visayas since the government started its aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.
Also, Antique province has the highest number of slain suspected drug personalities at 19.
Iloilo City came in next with 11; Iloilo province – 10; Negros Occidental – 7; Bacolod City – 4; Aklan – 2; and Capiz and Guimaras with one each.
Superintendent Joem Malong, Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) spokesperson, said the killing of Western Visayas’ top drug personality Melvin Odicta Sr. and his wife Meriam Odicta on Aug. 29, 2016 at Caticlan in Malay, Aklan was not part of the 55 deaths.
Instead, the Odicta slays are considered homicide cases under investigation (HCUI).
The death of Barangay Captain Remia Prevendido Gregori of Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao, Iloilo City and her personal aide on June 24, 2018 in San Joaquin, Iloilo is also considered an HCUI.