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68 killed in drug drive

Police have arrested at least 17,000 people in a series of anti-illegal drugs operations since January this year, data from the Philippine National Police revealed yesterday.

Of the 17,680 people neutralized, 68 of them were killed in shootouts with operating policemen in various parts of the country.

Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, PNP spokesman, said the data covers January to June 15 this year based on the reports submitted by the local police.

All police data down from the local police stations are now being regularly audited and validated to avoid padding and shaving of figures.

“These individuals were arrested through interdiction operations, service of arrest warrants and search warrants, checkpoints, and other form of police operations,” said Mayor.

But the PNP could not yet establish whether or not the number of people being neutralized have increased after police operations against drug suspects intensified after the victory of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte.

More than 20 drug suspects have been reportedly killed in various police operations after the May 10 elections this year.

In Nueva Ecija, three drug suspects were killed by police after they reportedly shot it out with lawmen chasing them in San Jose City early Friday morning.

Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, director of the Central Luzon police, said the shootout started when the suspects noticed that they were being tailed by lawmen while delivering illegal drugs in the Science City of Munoz and San Jose City.

Seized from them were 400 grams of shabu.

Mayor said Region 4-A or the Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon area topped the region with most number of drug suspects arrested with 4,874 followed by the National Capital Region Police Office with 3,760.

Central Luzon had the biggest number of drug suspects killed with 25 followed by Calabarzon with 14.

While intensifying the operation against drug suspects, Mayor said they also made sure that anti-illegal drugs activities are also being observed within the PNP to get rid of misfits.

“In line with the government policy of zero tolerance to drug abuse, the PNP conducted random drug testing from May 10 to June 8, 2016 at the National Headquarters and Police Regional Offices to determine who among PNP personnel are using illegal drugs,” said Mayor.

He said 1,075 personnel were subjected to random drug testing. Results have yet to be released. (AARON B. RECUENCO)