The number of self-confessed drug peddlers and users in Negros island, who surrendered to various police units of Police Regional Office 18, in the past two weeks, has now reached more than 4,500.
This developed as the Philippine National Police and also validating reports that some local officials in Negros Occidental are involved in illegal drugs.
Senior Supt. William Señoron, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, confirmed yesterday having received such reports while PNP chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa revealed that 23 mayors have been linked to the illegal drug trade.
Police records show that some barangay officials in Negros Occidental were arrested in buy-bust operations, and charges for violation of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Drug Act of 2002, in previous years.
The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office is also finalizing the list of police officers involved in the illegal drug trade, and those using drugs, for submission to the PNP higher headquarters.
While he refused to give the exact number of police officers linked to illegal drugs, Señoron confirmed that some of them have already been validated, while that of others is still ongoing.
Of more than 4,500 drug peddlers and users, 3,331 gave themselves up to the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, 1,200 to the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office and 50 to the Bacolod City Police Office, Supt. Moises Villaceran, PRO 18 Police Community Relations chief, reported yesterday.
Some of the drug personalities who pledged to stop their illegal activities, also surrendered shabu, firearms, and a fragmentation grenade, also in line with the PNP Tukhang campaign..
Villaceran said some local government units in Negros also pledged to help in the rehabilitation of drug users, while others vowed to provide livelihood assistance, in terms of employment, among others.
Investigations by the police showed that the continued influx of surrenderees was apparently driven by fear of execution.*GPB
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