THREE suspected members of a gun-for-hire group in Abra were killed early morning on Thursday, July 11 after refusing to stop at a police checkpoint.
According to a police report, the three suspects were identified as Michael Gonzales, 40, tricycle driver of Bangued, Abra; Vasquez Isao, 29; and Glenford Soria Agaid, 30.
Members of the Police Regional Office Cordillera (PRO-COR) Mobile Force Batallion were conducting a checkpoint along Barangay Anggad in Bangued when the suspects on board a tricycle sped past the checkpoint.
The report said the police pursued the three but the suspects initiated a gun battle which ended at 1:45 a.m.
Police said Gonzales was released from jail in January 2019 under a plea bargaining agreement. He was charged with violation of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act while Isao was previously charged for violation of RA 10591 or illegal possession of firearms on November 20 and frustrated murder in 2016 and is currently on bail. Agaid is out on parole for homicide.
Recovered from Isao were pictures of a police officer and one Clarence Valera, both believed to be their targets.
Police added the three were armed with customized calibre .45 and a 9mm pistol while sachets containing white crystalline substance believed to be shabu, or methamephetamine hydrochloride, were found in the bodies of Isao and Agaid.
Brigadier General Israel Ephraim Dickson, PRO-COR regional director, sees dire implications that Abra has not yet totally eradicated of the notorious business of illegal drugs using guns-for-hire.
Dickson then urges the provincial and municipal Peace and Order Councils (POCs) and Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (ADACs) in Abra to convene as soon as possible.
"It is urgent that they formulate, adopt, and implement effective action plans against guns-for-hire and illegal drugs in line with the whole-of-government approach of the Duterte Administration. The Provincial Director and all Chiefs of Police are urged to exercise their functions as Vice-Chairpersons of their respective POCs and ADACs by taking the initiative," Dickson said.