TWO alleged members of a motornapping syndicate were killed when they reportedly fought back in a police operation Wednesday, September 27, at Xavier Heights, Upper Balulang, Cagayan de Oro City.

The fatalities were identified as Carmelito Salvidas alias “Kulot” of Lanao del Norte and Ernesto Bradero of Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

Chief Inspector Joepet Paglinawan, chief of the Special Operating Unit-6 of the Philippine National Police's Drug Enforcement Group (SOU 6-PDEG) said their modus was to steal motorcycle and swap it with illegal drugs and sell the items to their customers.

"Ang ilang modus ani is kawat motor swap dayon og shabu unya ilang ibaligya dayon ang shabu (Their modus is to swap the motorcycles with illegal drugs and then sell it to the customers)," Paglinawan said.

Salvidas and Bradero, tagged as responsible for a series of “motornapping” in the city and adjacent towns, apparently resisted arrest when cops pounced on them.

Paglinawan said an informant tipped that the suspects were sighted in the area, prompting them to conduct the operation.

Paglinawan said the suspects lobbed a hand grenade and threw it at the operatives when they noticed that they were transacting with the police.

The grenade failed to explode while operatives almost simultaneously retaliated which resulted to the killing of the suspects.

"Pagkamatikod nila nga police ilang ka-transact, gilabayan nila og granada ang tropa pero wala nibuto kay wala natarong pagbunot ang pin. Almost simultaneous dayon ang pagtira sa mga police (They threw a grenade when they noticed that they were transacting with the police but it didn’t explode since the pin was not properly pulled out. The police fired almost simultaneously)," Paglinawan said.

Authorities are still verifying the owner of the house which has become a drug den.

Recovered in the area were a stolen motorcycle owned by certain Marjun Saloloy, a fragmentation grenade, and two sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or locally known as “shabu,” weighing two grams and worth around P2,000.

Paglinawan said Salvidas was previously convicted with drug charges and had served his sentence at the Davao Penal Colony.

Paglinawan said the suspects, who are considered as medium player in the illegal drug trade, belong to a syndicate operating in this city and Iligan and adjacent municipalities.

"Matawag sila nga medium player kay diha sila gabagsak sa Xavier Heights unya naa pud hideout nila sa usa mga barangay diri (They can be considered as medium players because they put their supplies in Xavier Heights and they have a hideout in one of the barangays here),"Paglinawan said.

Chief Inspector Mardy Hortillosa, spokesperson of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo), said they are saddened that the legitimate police operation led by the SOU 6-PDEG turned out bloody.

"Kami sa Cocpo naglikay gyud nga naay mamatay sa mga operation pero naguol ta sa hitabo ug lisod man pud kung dili mobalos ang mga personnel kay basin sila pa lang madisgrasya (We in Cocpo are saddened if someone dies in the operation but we are saddened and it’s hard if the personnel won’t retaliate. They might get hurt)," Hortillosa added.