LINGAYEN, Pangasinan: Two more big-time drug dealers operating in the western and eastern parts of the province were shot dead in separate incidents at dawn on Monday, while two other top drug pushers were arrested in buy-busts.
The two killed were identified as Ernesto Baniqued of Barangay Poblacion in Santo Tomas town, and Ralf Crisostomo Catalon, of Barangay Casilagan in Mangatarem town.
The alleged pushers who were arrested were identified as Hamid Joe Maines, a native of Marawi City, residing in Barangay Caramutan in Villasis town, and Gill Caramat, 29, of Salisay District, Dagupan City.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) provincial director, Senior Supt. Ronald Lee, said Baniqued died from multiple gunshots after unidentified gunmen entered the compound where he lived and fired at him.
The suspect and his companion reportedly fled on board a motorcycle.
Baniqued was a listed drug pusher in Santo Tomas and Rosales towns, including various towns in the eastern part of Pangasinan, with several pending criminal cases.
His mother denied her son is into drug pushing and told The Manila Times that he was killed over a love triangle because his wife is living with a well known pusher in Rosales.
Similarly, Catalon, who ranked No. 4 on the Mangatarem drug list and target of Aguilar town police, was driving his motorcycle along the provincial road in Barangay Paul when two unidentified gunmen shot him several times.
He died at the Velasquez Medical Clinic in Mangatarem.
Police said Catalon is a member of the Palisoc Gang, a drug syndicate headed by former Sangguniang Kabataan Federation president and municipal councilor Lanilet Palisoc who was arrested last week.
He is the second companion of Palisoc who was killed.
The family of Catalon confirmed he was a drug pusher and was supposed to surrender this week.
Meanwhile, suspect Maines, listed as No. 3 in Top 10 Drug Pushers in Villasis was arrested in a buy-bust in Barangay Pias.
The Villasis chief of police, Chief Insp. Norman Florentino, said recovered from Maines were three sachets of shabu, P500 marked money and the motorcycle he was riding.
Maines is detained at the police station with no bail recommended.
Another suspect, Caramat, alleged pusher in Dagupan City was arrested in a buy-bust in Barangay Arellano, with one sachet of shabu and P300 marked money found in his possession.