‘Hired killer handler’ falls in drug sting; son escapes

A 77-YEAR old man with alleged connection to a gun-for-hire group was arrested in a police anti-narcotics operation afternoon of July 14, 2017 in Sara, Iloilo.

Francisco Balume Sr. was collared after police swooped down on the house of his son, Rannie Balume, at Barangay Aspera.

Members of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) Provincial Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEU) Team 3, Sara Police Station, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 6 aimed at nabbing Rannie but he escaped.

Recovered from Francisco Sr. were seven plastic sachets of suspected shabu, P737 cash including the marked money, and a mobile phone.

Chief Inspector Charlie Sustento, IPPO-PDEU Team 3 leader, said Francisco is the older brother of Arturo Balume, an alleged crime ring leader in Iloilo province.

Francisco, aside from illegal drugs, is also involved in other illegal activities.

Sustento claimed that Francisco ‘handled hired killers and other goons’ in the fifth district of Iloilo.

Police also tagged Arturo, or Master Pedic, to illegal drugs and gun-for-hire operations.

He was charged along with three others for two counts of murder.

His co-accused, Ramy Balume, was arrested on May 30 at San Rafael town.

They were named suspects in the murder of two supporters of a mayoralty candidate in Balasan town, Iloilo the day before the May 9 polls.

Ronaldo Estandarte and Roberto Magarso, supporters of defeated Estancia mayoralty candidate Melina Requinto, were ambushed on May 8, 2016 at Sitio, Pani-an, Balasan.

Aside from murder, Arturo was also out on bail after he was arrested for illegal possession of firearm in San Rafael, Iloilo a few years ago.

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