THE Bataan police provincial director on Wednesday warned drug offenders not to put up a fight with the police to avoid the fate of the suspected drug pushers who have been killed since July 1 during intensified anti-drug operations.
Police Senior Supt. Benjamin Silo Jr., Bataan police director, issued the caveat after five more drug dealers were slain in simultaneous operations at dawn on Wednesday in the towns of Orani, Abucay and Mariveles after they engaged authorities in a gunfight.
The five new deaths brought to 13 the number of suspected drug traders killed by the Bataan police since July 1, Silo said.
Wednesday’s buy-bust in Orani resulted in the death of Erwin Tallada while Pablo Mejia and an uni-dentified suspect were also killed in Mariveles.
In Abucay town, two unidentified men, believed to be from Olongapo City (Zambales) who supply drugs there, were also slain after resisting arrest during the buy-bust.
Scene of the Crime Operatives recovered five handguns of caliber .45, a 9mm and a magnum 357, vari-ous live ammunition, spent shells and undetermined amount of shabu from the slain suspects.
Silo advised other drug users and pushers to follow the example of 1,792 others who surrendered from July 1 to 20.
Arrested during the Olongapo City buy-bust were 80 drug suspects.
They came from 209 drug-affected villages out of 237 barangay in the province.
“Never kami nag-initiate na unang magpaputok [We never initiated the first shot]. Those killed decid-ed to shoot it out with police in legitimate operations,” Silo said.
He added that police officers have good training and are better equipped and so they have better chances of killing those trying to engage them in a gunfight.
Silo, a lawyer, claimed the arrests, including those that resulted in deaths, were legitimate buy-busts.
He said policemen, like other persons, have the right to defend themselves, adding that the police-men only fire back at suspects making the first shot.
According to him, he does not want anyone, especially drug dependents, dead so they can be given due process in court.
The police officer said he expects more to turn themselves in as the intensified operations will be car-ried out until those on their list are neutralized or surrender.
Meanwhile, the 1,752 persons who voluntarily surrendered will be accepted in batches to the two re-habilitation facilities called the Pag-asa Reformation Centers located at Camp Tolentino in Balanga City and Barangay Lamao in Limay town.
The annex facilities were inaugurated by Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa on July 8.
Silo said they are looking for other reformation centers to cope with the increasing number of those wishing to be rehabilitated after quitting drugs.
The drug dependents will stay for one month in the centers run by the police with the assistance of stakeholder agencies and will be taught skills under the Technical Skills and Development Authority.