Seven alleged drug peddlers, including a barangay chairman, were killed while 263 others, one of them an alleged commander of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF), were rounded up when operatives of Manila Police District (MPD) and National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) raided the Islamic Center in Quiapo Manila, yesterday.
The operation was conducted by about 350 operatives from MPD’s Station 3 and 8 and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), and the NCRPO at about 9 a.m. on Palanca Street in Quiapo.
Police identified the fatalities as Barangay Chairman Faiz Macabato, of Barangay 648, Zone 67; his relative Gauz Macabato, the original target of the operation; and Marik Bayanton, a former barangay watchman. The four other fatalities still remains unidentified as of press time.
Authorities said that Gauz was a high-value target carrying a P1-million bounty on his head. He was tagged as a druglord leading the illegal trading of drugs inside the Muslim community compound.
It was reported that Gauz was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in 2012 for the murder of a relative over an alleged illegal drug feud.
Based on police report, Gauz reportedly shot it out with the police operatives in front of the barangay hall. Faiz and Marik came to the aid of Gauz but to no avail.
Police immediately brought the three to the Ospital ng Maynila but they were declared dead on arrival.
Meanwhile, the four unidentified men were killed during the operation on Fraternal Street after they also engaged the lawmen in a shootout a few meters away from the site of the first encounter.
“This shows that we are serious in our fight against illegal drugs,” said Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada who went to the area following the incident.
He called on the Muslim leaders at the Islamic Center to support the government’s war against drugs.
According to Estrada, this was just the second time that Islamic Center was raided; the first was during the administration of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos.
“Walang sinu-sino ang kampanya natin na ‘to, basta may atraso ka sa batas, kailangan mong pagbayaran but unfortunately, nanlaban siya kaya napilitan na rin ang MPD,” Estrada said.
According to Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel, MPD director, dozens of high-powered firearms and grenades, 100 motorcycles, six cars, and some 60 sachets of shabu were confiscated during the operation.
Meanwhile, the 263 persons apprehended were brought to the MPD Headquarters, including Sambetory Macaraas Sarip, 33, an alleged member of the BIFF. (BETHEENA KAE UNITE & ANALOU DE VERA)