PLACER, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews/13 June) — The number of self-confessed illegal drug peddlers in this town who have surrendered to authorities has reached 53 as of Monday, a police official said.
“Today two have surrendered bringing a total of 53 since we have called their attention to stop drug-selling in the town,” Inspector Manolito D. Parazo, town police chief said.
The 53 suspects presented themselves to Mayor-elect Micheal Jose “Pinggoy” Patiño.
“All of them signed the covenant that they would stop their illegal activity,” Parazo said.
On May 29, seven suspected peddlers of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) promised the police and the mayor that they would stop illegal drugs.
This was followed by 29 persons on May 30, six the next day, another six on June 2, three on June 3 and two others Monday (June 13).
Parazo said 15 of the 53 suspects who turned themselves in are considered big time drug pushers in the town.
He added the suspects came from barangays Poblacion, Magsaysay and Bad-as.
He said they did not arrest the 53 but gave them a second chance. But he said they were monitoring the suspects and would arrest them if they sold drugs again.
If they resist arrest, they would be killed, he warned.
Last Monday a suspected drug pusher in this town died from gunshot wounds in the head and body.
Police identified the suspect as Genesis Maarat Lebaste, 26, resident of Barangay Bad-as.
He was shot in the house of Jonard Lopez in Tres de Abril, Bad-as.
Police said Lopez is also drug dealer for whom Lebaste used to work as “runner”.
Esmeraldo Lebaste, the slain suspect’s father, admitted his son was involved in the illegal drug trade in town.
Lebaste was the second drug suspect killed after Parazo assumed as town chief of police last November.
A total of 35 suspected drug dealers have been arrested in town.
“Placer is one of the towns in Surigao del Norte where proliferation of illegal drugs is rampant. Now we have arrested some and we are giving others a chance to change themselves,” Parazo said.
He said he will still give the drug pushers who did not show up a chance to surrender at the police station.
Patiño said they would intensify the campaign against illegal drugs to fulfill his campaign promise to eradicate the local drug problem.
Asked for comment Monday, Supt. James Mejia, police provincial director of Surigao del said Monday he lauded the Placer police for their efforts against illegal drugs.
“I highly commend the efforts of Placer Police led by Chief Inspector Manolito Parazo. I support his plans and actions against illegal drugs and other forms of criminality in the town of Placer,” he said. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)