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Drug suspect plays dead, survives shootout

An alleged drug peddler thought to have died along with his cohort in a shootout with anti-narcotics operatives in Malate, Manila, suddenly sprung back to life yesterday.

Police and media men covering the incident were startled when the bloodied Francisco Maneja, 28, who they thought was already dead suddenly sat up, waved his hand and asked for help.

Maneja, according to investigators was one of the subjects of a buy-bust operation conducted by the anti-illegal drugs unit of MPD Police Station 9.

Prior to the incident, Malate Police chief Supt. Romeo Mendoza Odrada said Maneja and his cohort, George Huggins, 45, arrived at Roxas Boulevard service road behind the Aristocrat Restaurant onboard a tricycle (5543 HV) at around 12:20 a.m. to meet PO1 Orlando Gonzales who posed as a shabu buyer.

Maneja instructed PO1 Gonzales to board the tricycle because they would make the drug deal somewhere else. The cop followed his instruction.

While they were traversing the service road, PO1 Gonzales handed R500 to Maneja in exchange for a sachet of shabu.

As they stopped on Aldecoa Street, Maneja sensed that his client was an undercover cop, prompting him to push the latter out of the tricycle.

Huggins, who was driving the tricycle, alighted and fired shots at PO1 Gonzales but missed hitting the cop.
Gonzales retaliated, killing Huggins on the spot.

Upon seeing his fallen buddy, Maneja also alighted and fired shots at PO1 Gonzales, but one of the back-up operatives shot him.

Police arrived at the crime scene at around 1:30 a.m. But 10 minutes later, they were all surprised when the bloodied Maneja slowly rose up from the pavement and asked for help.

Investigator PO3 Marlon San Pedro of MPD homicide section said that policemen rushed Maneja to Ospital ng Maynila where he is now recuperating from gunshot wounds in the shoulder, hands and feet.

San Pedro said that police operatives recovered three sachets of suspected shabu, a .38-caliber Square Bingham revolver and a .22-caliber Blackwidow revolver with live ammunition, and the marked money used in the entrapment.

A case for violation of R.A. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) will be filed against Maneja at the City Prosecutor’s Office. (ANALOU DE VERA)