FIVE people -- four drug personalities and a policeman -- were killed, while two others were wounded in a firefight during an anti-drug operation in Tawi-Tawi, an official said Tuesday, September 17.
In another incident, five boat crew were arrested as agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) backed by policemen and soldiers dismantled a drug den in Basilan province.
Lawyer Jacqueline De Guzman, PDEA regional director, said the firefight occurred around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, September 17, in the village of Luuk Pandan, Bongao, the capital town of Tawi-Tawi.
It ensued as the target personalities sensed that they were transacting illegal drugs with government agents, she added.
Authorities have yet to establish the identities of the drug personalities involved in the incident, but De Guzman identified the slain policeman as Staff Sergeant John Ventura, a member of the Special Action Force (SAF).
She said two other SAF personnel were wounded in the firefight.
Recovered from the drug personalities were 50 grams of substance believed to be shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride).
In the Basilan encounter, De Guzman identified the arrested suspects as Abdulhaber Arok Lakkian, 51; Absemar Aldam Paradje, 33; Abdul Astian Basar, 36; Omar Mustafa Hasim, 44; and Nurhusin Hasim Wahab, 55.
De Guzman said the suspects were nabbed in a drug bust around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, September 17, in Sitio Tupay, Barangay Tabuk, Isabela City, the capital of Basilan.
She said the suspects were in an abandoned house being used as illegal drug den when arrested by authorities.
Seized from them were 17 grams of shabu packed in 17 heat-sealed plastic sachets worth P115,600. (SunStar Philippines)