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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, March 2, 2018
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All agencies pursuing
elusive ‘drug leader’


All law enforcement agencies in Western Visayas, including Bacolod City, are going after Ramy Poja, an elusive drug group leader and a high-value target in the city, who hasrepeatedly escaped arrest by tossing grenades atthe police.

Senior Supt. Francisco Ebreo, officer-in-charge of Bacolod City Police Office, said yesterday that it is not only the BCPO that is hunting down Poja but the whole Police Regional Office-6, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

Poja has escaped three times, always through his hand grenadestrategy at his residence in Sitio Sibucao, Barangay Banago in Bacolod. He did this on August 19, 2015, on July 19, 2016 and again last Saturday.

On Monday Chief Supt. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, Western Visayas regional police director ordered the BCPO personnel to go after Poja.

For now, all station commanders in Bacolod and Philippine National Police personnel assigned in BCPO will go after him, unlike before when only the City Drug Enforcement Unit and Special Operations Group were looking for him, Ebreo said.

“There is already a directive to go after Poja, who is one of those (targets) being focused on since I assumed,” Ebreo said.

The tracking down of Poja is a whole-government approach, especially because he is an HVT engaging in illegal drugs. Continuous effort and monitoring by the intelligence operativesare being done to arrest him, Ebreo said.

Having many relatives in the area, andbeing a “Robin Hood” to his neighbors has made him difficult to arrest, Ebreo said.

He said they are also validating information that police officers are protecting Poja. If evidence backs the information, the police officersinvolved couldface charges, he said.

Grace Cruz, officer-in-charge of the PDEA in Negros Occidental, said Poja had pending warrants of arrest for drugs and murder charges.

Members of the PDEA-6, CIDG-Bacolod, and Bacolod CDEU, swooped down on the house of Poja 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 his house, Poja’s neighbors lit firecrackers as a signal to him.

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

Rodriguez sustained third-degree burns after he poured gasoline on his body and lit it, Cruz said, adding that four PDEA agents, also sustained minor burns but they are now in stable condition.

The operation, meanwhile, yielded sachets of suspected shabu worth P25,000, drugs paraphernalia, hand grenades, a revolver, ammunition, and magazines, records show.*SGG


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