Pasay city shootout proof that armed and dangerous drug traffickers out there

A GUNFIGHT between two agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and a drug trafficker in Pasay City last Wednesday has bolstered claims by authorities that armed and dangerous shabu dealers are lurking in the streets and always ready to shoot and kill once they are cornered, officials told the Journal Group.

Raw footage of last Wednesday’s shootout in Pasay City showed suspect Jeric Sandoval alias ‘Boy’ firing at PDEA undercover operatives before being forced to flee on foot after being shot when the officers returned fire. As a result, PDEA Intelligence Agents Charlemaine Tang and Richard Saure were wounded and taken to the San Juan de Dios Hospital for treatment.

Sandoval and gasoline station cashier Shairalyn de Guzman who was wounded in the crossfire were brought to the Adventist Medical Hospital. All four have been listed in safe condition although Sandoval remained cuffed to his hospital bed and being guarded by officers.

PDEA chair Director General Aaron N. Aquino has commended the two brave PDEA agents for their feat and said the encounter proved to all and sundry that armed drug traffickers are ready to kill once cornered.

“It’s an eye-opener to the public that indeed, our drug targets are armed and ready to resist arrest,” said Philippine National Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac.

Sandoval had just sold a kilo of shabu worth P6.8 million to an undercover agent when he sensed the trap and tried to grab the stuff from the poseur before starting to fire shots hitting the two officers in the process. The agents returned fire injuring the fleeing suspect who was immediately taken to the hospital.

Recovered during the operation were the shabu, the buy-bust money and the weapon used by Sandoval who is now facing non-bailable charges for sale and possession of dangerous drugs, three counts of frustrated murder and violation of the Omnibus Election Code, said PDEA Special Enforcement Service head, Director Levi S. Ortiz.

Around 6 p.m. last Tuesday, fighting erupted between a group of policemen and a heavily-armed drug trafficker in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao resulting in the death of the suspect and injuries to two officers, a report to PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said.

Police Officer 2 Winston Arellano and Police Officer 1 Jeffrey Banzon,  both members of the Datu Paglas Municipal Police Station suffered gunshot wounds in their bodies but were already declared in stable condition in a local hospital, said Banac.

According to the PNP spokesman, the two encountered Thong Sambulawan Maido during a buy-bust. The suspect who was armed with a caliber .45 pistol shot the two policemen before he was neutralized.

Dozens of policemen and soldiers have been killed or wounded in clashes with armed drug dealers across the country since the Duterte government launched a massive crackdown on illegal drug trafficking and abuse in July 2016. Some were also abducted and killed while some became victims of ambuscades by suspected drug personalities and their cohorts.

Earlier, the Commission in Elections saw full logic on a letter-explanation Gen. Albayalde as it amended the rules and regulations when it comes to members of the police force who need to carry firearms while conducting undercover missions in civilian clothes during the duration of the nationwide gun ban which will last until this coming June 12.

Gen. Albayalde batted for the need for police officers and men assigned in special PNP units like the different PNP Regional, Provincial, City and Municipal Drug Enforcement Units, Intelligence Divisions, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Counter-Intelligence Task Force and Warrant Sections to carry firearms while in covert missions which requires them to wear civilian clothes.

Chief Supt.  Rey Lyndon T. Lawas, the Deputy Director of the PNP Directorate for Operations and the official PNP representative to the Comelec Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel fully explained the PNP position on the matter during a series of talks with the Comelec Legal Department prompting the poll body to make some amendments to their Resolution No. 10446.