THE police had hit a “nerve” in the illegal drug trade after suspected drug lord Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria and two of his underlings were killed in a shootout with operatives from the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 last Saturday dawn in Banacon islet, Getafe town, Bohol.
Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador Jr., the PRO 7 director, said Secretaria’s death has an effect on the lives of some residents who depended on Secretaria, who acted like “Robin Hood” by giving rice, supplying electricity and other goods.
He said legal and illegal ways of fishing and peddling shabu are the main sources of income of some residents, who are mostly uncooperative with the police.
“We are occupying Banacon right now. This will immobilize their supply. Probably, they can change route in other islands, but for the time being dako ta’g...na-paralyze sa ilang operation (we have paralyzed a huge part of their operation),” he said.
The police official said two teams from the Regional Public Safety Batallion 7 were sent to the islet to diffuse the tension. Banacon is also home of the notorious drug lord-robbery gang leader Joel “Tongol” Nodalo.
Comendador said he is not sure how long the police can stay in the islet and “win the people over their side.”
He described Banacon as a drop-off point of illegal drugs that reach Ermita, Cebu City, parts of Cebu Province, Siquijor, Lapu-Lapu City, Cordova, Bohol and parts of Leyte. Some residents of Ermita have relatives in Banacon.
“They can pass through these islands without impediment or being hampered by coast guard or police,” said Comendador.
The supply of illegal drugs in Banacon comes from Muntinlupa and other parts of Metro Manila.
He said Secretaria and his group are untouchables in the islet. The police have assaulted his residence twice, but they failed to capture him.
The “elusive” Secretaria was the third most wanted bigtime drug personality in Central Visayas.
Meanwhile, the PRO 7 denied the claim of a girl who said she saw Jason Montes, 22, being shot by the operatives even though the suspect raised his hands.
Comendador said it is hard to believe that the girl did not run and hide upon hearing several bursts of gunfire.
“Actually, I have talked with the operatives. They said the stories were twisted. These are fabricated witnesses,” he said.
Secretaria’s other subordinate Dario Torremocha was also killed during the shootout.
Comendador said his personnel almost canceled the operation after receiving an information that Secretaria had left his house, but the operatives succeeded in neutralizing the suspect after he returned.
There were about 25 persons in the house of the drug lord when the operatives from Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group and Provincial Intelligence Branch launched their assault.
Comendador said they are conducting a fact-finding investigation on the incident, as the Commission on Human Rights have started its own inquiry.
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he will give P3 million reward to any law enforcer who can kill a drug lord.
For Comendador, he said getting a reward is not their motivation. Capturing the criminals is their job.