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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, February 27, 2018
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Nab grenade throwing
drug leader, cops told


Chief Supt. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, Western Visayas regional police director, yesterday ordered the Bacolod City Police Office personnel to go after Ramy Poja, a drug group leader, who evaded arrest in Barangay Banago, Bacolod, Saturday.

“They should get Poja,” Binag, who expressed impatiencewith the failure to arrest the elusive suspect, said yesterday.

Poja, who is ranked as a high-value target, has escaped three times, always by tossing hand grenades at thepolice. He did this on August 19, 2015, on July 19, 2016 and again on Saturday.

Binag said the regional and national police have neutralized Richard Prevendido, a top drug lord in Western Visayas; Arturo Balume Sr. and his son Arturo Jr., who are members of a drug group operating in Iloilo province; and Antonio Aquino, the top most wanted person of the region.

The BCPO should also do the same and arrest Poja, Binag said.

Grace Cruz, officer-in-charge of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Negros Occidental, said yesterday that Poja had pending warrants of arrest for drugs and murder charges.

Members of the PDEA-6, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Bacolod, and Bacolod City Drug Enforcement Unit, swooped down on the house of Poja in Sitio Sibucao, Barangay Banago on Saturday to serve the arrest warrants against him.

However, Poja escaped by throwing hand grenades at the arresting team. Luckily, the grenades did not explode.

Cruz said that while the police were on the way to the house of Poja, his neighbors lit firecrackers as a signal they were coming.

The police, meanwhile, arrested two members of the Poja Drug Group, identified as Roberto Rodriguez, alias “Togle”, and Steve Liboon.

Rodriguez, who sustained third-degree burns after he poured gasoline on his body and lit it, is recuperating at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, Cruz said.

Four PDEA agents also sustained minor burns but they are now in stable condition, she added.

The operation, meanwhile, yielded four heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu weighing about five grams, with an estimated street-value of P25,000, several drugs paraphernalia, two hand grenades, a .22 caliber revolver with five live ammunition, an M-16 magazine with 18 live ammunition, a magazine for a 9mm pistol with five live ammunition, and six live ammunition for 12-gauge shotgun, PDEA records show.

Bacolod Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran yesterday urged cooperation from the community following reports that the neighbors of Poja help him escape, by giving him signals that policemen are on their way to his house, such as lighting fireworks.

If the police find that sealing off the area will work, then they should do it. But the most important thing is the cooperation of the community, Familiaran said.

A community helping or protecting drug personalities does not only happen in one area, but in other places,too,because that person may have been a “Robin Hood” to them, or they are relatives, Familiaran added.*SGG


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