NO REMORSE FOR DRUGGIES: Top cop confirms some Tokhang surrenderees are back in drug trade

POLICE investigate the scene at Zone 6, Brgy. Ingore, La Paz where Oplan Tokhang surrenderee Rolando Puda was gunned down evening of Sept 7, 2018. (Photo courtesy of RGMA dySI Super Radyo 1323 Khz)

THE Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) confirmed that several drug personalities who surrendered to the PNP’s Oplan Tokhang are back in business.

Their activities are being monitored by authorities, said Senior Supt. Henry Biñas, ICPO director.

Several months ago, Biñas said they collated reports on the illegal drug trade and found out those involved were Oplan Tokhang surrenderees.

This is the reason why the ICPO conducted a series of operations that led to the arrest of Tokhang personalities.

Biñas said the return of these drug personalities to their old ways might be driven by several factors.

“Maybe, there were suppliers who offered them shabu to trade. Most of them are used to easy money and finding work with meager salary is also a factor, too. We will be unrelenting on our efforts against those involved in criminalities, to include illegal drugs,” he added.

But Biñas said that summary execution of drug pushers is not part of their anti-drug campaign.

On Friday, two Tokhang surrenderers were shot dead in a span of 10 hours.

Motorcycle-riding gunmen killed Rolando Puda and Don Azucena.

In these two instances, police investigators recovered bullets from what appeared to be a caliber .9mm pistol.

Puda, 41, was gunned down at Zone 6, Brgy. Ingore, La Paz Friday night.

According to Insp. Ariel Pico, La Paz police chief, Puda was preparing for a drinking session at around 7 p.m. some 10 meters away from his house.

Two masked men on a motorcycle passed by the area and later went back.

“They might have wanted to make sure it was really the subject,” Pico said.

The back-rider alighted from the motorbike and sprayed bullets on the victim.

Several men who were sitting near Puda were unscathed.

The gunman then hopped on the waiting motorcycle and fled.

Puda was rushed to the West Visayas State University Medical Center but was proclaimed dead at around 2:40 a.m. Saturday.

Pico said the victim succumbed to around five gunshot injuries. Six empty shells of caliber .9mm ammunition were recovered from the crime scene.

Pico said there were no closed circuit television (CCTC) cameras near the crime scene.

Records showed the victim surrendered to Oplan Tokhang in 2016 and underwent rehabilitation.

But Pico cited a confidential report stating that Puda was still engaging in illegal drug trade.

“It was on an on-and-off basis. Sometimes, he would go into hiatus,” he added.

His family claimed that Puda was a volunteer tanod (watchman) but his name did not appear on the official list of village watchmen in the area.

Pico said they already have persons of interest but he did not elaborate.

Investigators are looking into old grudges as possible motive of the incident.

In 2010, Puda, a father of three, was accused of theft. Last year, he was also charged for slapping and poking a gun at a 69-year-old woman.

He was reportedly charged for violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act) but was released from detention after posting bail.

Pico said they also received complaints about Puda’s unruly behaviour when he is drunk.

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