Editorial: Police against police

Editorial Cartoon by Joshua Cabrera

THERE was no turning back when the Duterte administration embarked on a journey to rid the streets of illegal drugs three years ago.

The presidential threat was clear and real. Stop engaging in the illegal drug trade or face the full wrath of the law.

Since then, bodies of drug personalities have been piling up.

But as they say, “violence begets violence.”

It was only a matter of time when the other side would retaliate. The government really didn’t expect the “bad guys” to sit back and do nothing while its numbers were being decimated, did it?

But police against police?

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, May 1, a member of the Cebu City Mobile Force Company was killed in an alleged shootout with members of the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) and the Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU) in Sudlon, Cebu City.

Earlier reports tagged Police Corporal Feliciano Yballe, the victim, as the prime suspect in the fatal ambush of Police Master Sergeant Junard Cinco, a PIB member, in Toledo City last Tuesday morning, April 30.

Police believed Cinco was targeted because he was responsible for the build-up of the case against Gerly Luwage, Cebu’s most wanted person, who was killed in a gun battle with police last Monday, April 29, in Barangay Basak Nicolas, Cebu City.

Police said they received intelligence reports that Luwage’s group was out for revenge.

The motorcycle they found in neighboring Barangay Sinsin was brought there by Yballe’s lackey. It matched the vehicle used by Cinco’s killers based on the security camera footage.

Police Regional Office 7 Director Debold Sinas, though, would have none of that talk.

According to him, the PIB and PDEU members were knocking on Yballe’s door, before 3 a.m., to seek the latter’s assistance after they received a tip that the two men who attacked Cinco were in the barangay.

Sinas said Yballe had been receiving death threats from a local official and a drug syndicate and had become paranoid, which would explain why he allegedly fired first when he discovered armed men outside his door.

Whether the public believes this latest twist in the narrative is up to them. But both cases show the police are vulnerable and that they may end up fighting a war on two fronts.


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