BACOLOD

Ex-Negros Oriental village chief linked to drugs

A FORMER village chief in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental wanted for his alleged involvement in criminal activities recently surrendered to authorities, a press release from the 302nd Infantry Brigade (IBdge) of the Philippine Army based in Bohol stated.

Hilarion Macalua III, former captain of Barangay Hilaitan, surrendered to the police and turned over an AK-47 rifle, a caliber .45 pistol, and several ammunition.

Macalua was one of the subjects of the 96 search warrants during the simultaneous anti-crime operations of Police Regional Office (PRO)-Central Visayas in the province on December 26, 2018.

The 302nd IBdge augmented the Central Visayas’ police teams in the implementation of warrants in Guihulngan City, and towns of La Libertad, Mabinay and Sta. Catalina.

During the said operations, six suspected Special Partisan Unit (Sparu) of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in shootouts with law enforcers while 26 other rebels, Militiang Bayan members and NPA murder accomplices were arrested.

The joint operation reportedly yielded at least 65 assorted firearms and ammunition.

Although the authorities failed to arrest Macalua during the actual serving of the search and arrest warrants, they seized an M16 rifle, M4, caliber .45 pistol, and several rounds of ammunition from his house.

According to police sources, Macalua had been on the government's so-called "narco-list" since 2008.

The former village chief, they claimed, was even mentioned by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to be involved in a case where P72-million worth of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) was confiscated during the drug raid in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental in August 2018.

The authorities are also looking into Macalua's alleged links with the NPA.

Reports reaching both the military and the police said Macalua had been allegedly providing the NPA with funds and firearms, and other means of support.

The authorities are hoping that Macalua would publicly expose his NPA connections, as well as the links of the communist movement into the illegal drug trade.

"Since Macalua surrendered, and if the allegations against him are true, we're urging him to speak the truth and expose the flow of narco money where the NPAs desperately depend to survive," said Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas, regional director of PRO-Central Visayas.

“The connection is very obvious, the NPA do not kill drug lords and dealers, they only murder retired military and police personnel and informants, members of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit, and barangay officials actively helping the government in its anti-NPA terrorism campaign,” he added.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Ignacio Madriaga, commander of the 302nd ID, said “this is the right time for him to testify in court because the rebels have been engaged in killing sprees.”

Madriaga said that in Guihulngan City alone, more than 80 people have been killed by the terrorist NPA-Sparu.

Those abetting these NPA outlaws also have criminal liabilities, he added.

Macalua is now under police custody. (GYM)


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