Senior Supt. Harris Fama, acting director of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, has confirmed the presence of vigilante groups in Negros Oriental, who are obviously ready to help the law enforcers in the campaign against illegal drugs.
Surrender or else these vigilante groups could take you out, was Fama's warning message to the "drug pushers and users" in an interview with the media Thursday.
Fama, however, made it clear the PNP will not allow vigilante killings to take place although he admitted the police may not be able to prevent this from happening.
He called on “drug pushers and users” to instead voluntarily surrender to the police in response to Oplan TokHang (“toktok” for knock and “hangyo” for request in the Cebuano dialect) and Project Double Barrel campaigns.
A report from the Amigo Cops Negros Oriental PNP Text Blast Project showed that 2,456 “drug users and pushers” have voluntary surrendered to various police stations in the province, from July 1-7, 2016.
These include 475 surrenderees at the Guihulngan City Police Station, Sibulan PS – 467, Tanjay CPS – 241, San Jose PS – 165, Bais CPS – 154, Dauin PS - 146, Amlan PS – 145, Bayawan CPS – 129, Canlaon City PS – 6, Vallehermoso PS – 60, La Libertad PS – 23, Jimalalud PS – 3, Tayasan PS – 65, Ayungon PS – 32, Bindoy – 39, Manjuyod PS – 19, Mabinay PS – 39, Pamplona PS – 16, Dumaguete CPS - 47, Valencia PS – 8, Bacong PS – 7, Zamboanguita PS – 59, Siaton PS – 13, Sta Catalina PS – 42, and Basay PS - 56.
Fama said the PNP employs approaches to address the illegal drugs problem, namely, voluntary surrender on the part of these “drug personalities” and police operations, where buy-bust, arrests and search warrants are utilized.
A different method, which Fama says is highly likely to place, is vigilante justice where individuals or groups who want to help President Rodrigo Duterte in the campaign against illegal drugs.
The possibility here is that these vigilante groups would shoot and kill the so-called drug personalities if they persist in their nefarious activities, he added.
“That is why we want to alert the people in Negros Oriental about the presence of these vigilante groups,” said Fama in the dialect, adding that he is confident that the vigilante groups are existing in the province.
Police chiefs have confirmed the same, Fama said, adding he has directed the former to arrest the vigilantes and file charges of illegal possession of firearms and other criminal offenses where possible.
Fama, meanwhile, assured that the lists of "drug pushers and users" who surrendered in the different towns and cities of Negros Oriental would not be made accessible to the vigilantes.
He admitted there “should be secrecy” on the identities of the “drug pushers and users” who had surrendered to authorities, for their protection.
Pictures and videos, however, are posted on Facebook on the surrender of these people, even before Fama had instructed the police chiefs against public display of these individuals.
If these are posted on Facebook, ideally, the faces of these people ought to be blurred, he added.
As for the lists, these are only for police consumption, Fama added.
He has confirmed that in one of the arrests made, a suspect revealed that a vigilante group was already organized to run after illegal drug personalities in the province.
He made the revelation in saying this vigilante group is being talked about in their circle of friends.
Meanwhile, a search warrant implemented by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Dumaguete City Thursday afternoon yielded only one small sachet believed to contain suspected shabu.
However, the raiding team recovered a homemade 38 caliber revolver with four rounds of ammunition, an air rifle, improvised tooter, lighter and blade at the residence of Teody Ramirez Plarisan in Purok Tangigue, Barangay Piapi in Dumaguete.
The suspect, however, managed to escape through the back door of his house and scaled the fence.*JFP/JG
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