CEBU CITY (Updated) -- Three suspected drug pushers were killed in a "shootout" with anti-narcotics operatives in Sitio Panaghiusa, Spolarium St., Barangay Duljo Fatima, Cebu City, Wednesday evening, May 2.
Killed on the spot were Joseph Oralde, 44, and his brother, Romeo, 34 years old. The third fatality, Israel Patunob, 37, was rushed to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center but was declared dead on arrival.
“When one of my men declared that they were under arrest, those men tried to shoot at the operatives and that prompted the police to retaliate,” Supt. Glenn Mayam, chief of the Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) 7, said in an ABS-CBN TV Patrol report.
Operatives from the Philippine National Police-Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG), Regional Intelligence Division (RID), Police Regional Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU)-Central Visayas confiscated shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) worth P5.9 million.
Also recovered were two .45 pistols and a.38 revolver.
Mayam said that the operation was legitimate.
“Basta ang sa amo, trabaho lang (We’re just doing our jobs),” he said.
Mayam said that the police had placed the Oralde brothers under surveillance for two months after several arrested drug pushers revealed their names to authorities.
The Oraldes allegedly distributed shabu to drug pushers in the whole region. They could reportedly dispose of two kilos of illegal drugs every week.
Police are still tracing where the illegal drugs came from.
Chief Insp. Randy Caballes, chief of the Mambaling Police Station, said that the three were not included in their watch list because they didn’t stay long in Duljo and often transferred from one rented house to another.
Senior Insp. John Escober, deputy chief of the CDEU, said that the supply of drugs in the city will be affected with the death of the three.
“Considering the quantity of the shabu that was recovered from them, just imagine how many lives would have been destroyed if they had managed to dispose of it,” Escober said.
The Homicide Section of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) didn’t find any foul play, and witnesses in the area claimed that the three tried to engage the operatives in a gunfight.
SPO1 Winston Ybañez, homicide investigator, said that they will subject the recovered firearms from the three to a ballistic examination to check if it was used in recent killings in Cebu City.