THE anti-drug operation held in Quiapo’s Islamic Center on Friday where a village chieftain and six others were killed is a warning to all barangay officials that there are no sacred cows in the war on illegal drugs, Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada said.
“I warned them already, noong araw pa (much earlier),” the mayor told reporters in an interview after the operation. “May this be a warning to them. There is no sacred cow in our anti-drug campaign. Wala kaming sisinuhin (there will be no exemptions).”
Estrada was referring to Barangay 648 chairman Faiz Macabato, who was killed after fighting it out with the policemen who were about to serve an arrest warrant for his brother, Gaus Macabato, a drug suspect.
Gaus was also killed, along with former barangay councilor Marik Bayanton and several others.
Estrada said he was not surprised that Chairman Macabato had been protecting his brother since the slain barangay official was among those who did not submit a list of drug users and pushers in their respective jurisdictions.
“It was his choice. He resisted,” the mayor said.
“It was not surprising at all. Even some mayors are protectors of drug traffickers, mga barangay chairman pa kaya?” he added.
Estrada has required all 896 barangay chairmen to identify suspected drug pushers and dependents in their communities to help the Manila Police District (MPD) and facilitate the counselling and rehabilitation program for drug users who want to change their ways.
“Ito’y hindi laban sa (this is not a fight against) Muslims. Laban lang sa droga (this is against illegal drugs). We’re telling our Muslim brothers that we are not against them. We’re against addicts and pushers,” he said.