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Police reduce drug supply but lose 65 men in campaign

By AARON B. RECUENCO, with a report from Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald M. dela Rosa revealed yesterday that illegal drug syndicates operating in the country have lost some P500 billion but the government has paid a price as it lost 65 cops in the aggressive anti-drugs campaign in the past 12 months.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gives an award to Ozamiz City police director Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido for his efforts in the anti-illegal drug campaign of the administration during the 116th Police Service Annivesary held at Camp Crame in Quezon City. (PHOTO/ ALVIN KASIBAN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gives an award to Ozamiz City police director Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido for his efforts in the anti-illegal drug campaign of the administration during the 116th Police Service Annivesary held at Camp Crame in Quezon City. (PHOTO/ ALVIN KASIBAN)

One-hundred seventy policemen were wounded in the campaign, Dela Rosa said.

He said the sacrifices of his men were not in vain as it led to some significant accomplishments not only in the campaign against illegal drugs but also in the effort to reduce the crime across the country.

“But the PNP never loses heart. Not when the streets are now becoming safer, not when people are grateful that there are now less drugs in the communities,” said Dela Rosa in a speech during the 116th Police Service Anniversary in Camp Crame in Quezon City.

He said the campaign against illegal drugs from July 1 last year to June 30 reduced the shabu supply in the country by 85,589 kilos. “This translated to some P500 billion in losses to the illegal drug syndicates,” said Dela Rosa.

Dela Rosa, citing PNP data, said some 1.3 million illegal drug pushers and users have surrendered while 86,030 were arrested in various police anti-drug operations in the past 12 months.

The anti-drug operations also resulted into the death of 3,264 suspected pushers and users across the country, Dela Rosa added.

He said they were also able to reduce the crime rate nationwide by 26.7 percent in the past 12 months.

Dela Rosa vowed to go on with the campaign against illegal drugs despite criticisms and cited the support of President Duterte as their motivation.

Meanwhile, Duterte yesterday offered a R2-million reward for information leading to the whereabouts or apprehension of every policemen involved in the mass killing in Ozamiz City that allegedly involved the Parojinog clan.

The President said he will visit Ozamiz to warn policemen linked to the Parojinogs, particularly Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., who was killed with 15 others in a police raid last month.

“I will be visiting Ozamiz. I will not tell you when, but I will warn the policemen there,” Duterte said. “’Yung kasama ni Parojinog and his cahoots who are members of the PNP, you will have your comeuppance. I will see to it that you too will get a fair share of justice.”

The Ozamiz police discovered last week a mass grave behind the barangay hall in Barangay Cogon in Ozamiz.

According to Duterte, police involved in the killing or dumping of bodies in the mass grave can take a leave of absence but made sure to track them down.

“The policemen who are now shortlisted in the killing of so many civilians buried in a cemetery there at the back of the barangay hall, each of those policemen now carry on their head now, I am announcing, P2 million per head. And you are free to go on leave,” he said.

“R2 million per head – dead or alive. Better dead because I have to pay for the funeral parlor, that is an added expense. I’d rather buy rice for the Filipino people,” he added.

Ozamiz police director Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, citing information from residents, said the Parojinogs had ordered summary executions and had the bodies dumped in mass graves.

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