Thirteen drug suspects were killed in police anti-drug operations on the day after new Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde was sworn into office.
According to police reports, Bulacan cops launched a “Province-wide Simultaneous Operations on Illegal Drugs” today (Friday, April 20).
Police started the operations early this morning, and as of midday had completed 49 operations that resulted in 13 dead and 58 arrests.
According to official records, all of the deaths were the result of shootouts. These deadly encounters occurred in the towns of Bocaue, Pandi, Santa Maria, Malolos, Plaridel, Pulilan, San Jose del Monte, Baliwag and San Rafael.
The operations led to the seizure of 72 grams of shabu (methamphetamine) and 511 grams of cannabis valued at nearly half a million pesos. More than a dozen firearms were also seized.
Nearly 60 suspects, including high value target Mariano De Leon, commonly known as actor Julio Diaz, were arrested, a statement from the Bulacan Police Provincial Office said.
The statement also confirmed that the officers involved had not been wearing body cameras.
PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao said the death toll was proof that drug syndicates were “fierce and are ready to put a fight against the law enforcers”.
“Let this serve as a reminder to the PNP operatives to be careful and cautious in their operations to preclude becoming casualties during anti-illegal drugs operations,” he added.
New police chief, Director General Albayalde, has previously said that he will not alter the anti-drugs campaign policy, noting that the current set-up had seen “very good results”. He has also vowed to root out corruption in the ranks.
He replaces Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa, who is now due to take the top job at the Bureau of Corrections.