OPERATIVES from the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 hopped on board a dump truck to raid the territory of suspected drug lord David Anunciado in Barangay Cawayan, Inabanga, Bohol last Sunday morning.
Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) Chief George Ylanan said they pretended to be quarrymen because the group has informants working as motorcycle-for-hire drivers.
Their operation would have been compromised if they used sports utility vehicles because the village has rough roads and no tourist spots.
“We innovated a deception to penetrate the area… that’s why they did not notice us,” said Ylanan.
The plan proved fruitful after Anunciado and four of his men were killed after a shootout with police. Three other men were caught alive.
Several high-powered firearms, hand grenades, P3.3 million worth of drugs and proceeds from the illegal drug trade were seized.
Chief Supt. Patrocinio Comendador Jr., PRO 7 director, said they received reports that the group was also used by politicians. He said they are still validating the information gathered by intelligence units.
Surrender as an option
Anunciado’s alleged cohort Edwin Estoce Puhas and two other men were able to escape. The two suspects were named subjects in search warrants issued by a Regional Trial Court in Tagbilaran City.
Comendador said Puhas can still surrender.
“He should grab the opportunity,” he said.
Regional Intelligence Division Chief Rex Derilo said the group has been involved in the illegal drug trade for a long time and its scope of operation is the entire province of Bohol.
When driving, Anunciado was always guarded by armed men on board two motorcycles.
“They are feared in the neighborhood because they openly carry their firearms,” said Ylanan.
Previous operations against the suspects, with the last one in March yet, failed because they hid in a secluded portion of Cawayan, about five kilometers from the national highway.
Around 8 a.m. last Sunday, the suspects, who were standing outside a hut, opened fire at the operatives after they saw them jumping out of the dump truck.
The police retaliated and killed Anunciado, Medes Enoc, Alipio Anuta, Milkins Ohina and Pio Justol. They captured Darya Añanna Nuñez, Justino Vistal Esturba, and Renato Ompad Peticio.
Comendador said he will not relieve the police chief of Inabanga Police Station, Senior Insp. Rolando Antipolo, because the latter conducted operations against Anunciado’s group, although he failed to arrest its members.
Meanwhile, the PRO 7 ranked first in arresting persons involved in a gun-for-hire group and most wanted persons and confiscating evidence during the election period.
Deputy Director General Danilo Constantino, who will retire on June 24, congratulated Comendador for the success.
“Keep the good work in your minds, in your hearts and in your spirits,” he said.
The police official was the guest of honor and speaker of yesterday’s flag-raising ceremony.
He handed awards to Comendador, Deputy Regional Director for Operations Rey Lyndon Lawas, Deputy Regional Director for Administration Sheldon Jacaban, Regional Operations and Plans Division Chief Armando Radoc and the police offices of Bohol, Cebu Province, Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City for their success in securing the elections.
Regional Intelligence Division Chief Rex Derilo, Ylanan, Senior Insp. Ruel Burlat, SPO1 Roy Carlo Veloso, PO1 Esmeraldo Quillosa, and PO1 Rey Gabriel Rosell were given medals for arresting the top most wanted robber Michael Florida last May 19.
After the court convicted Joavan Fernandez for illegal possessions of firearms, the police officers who caught him on May 6, 2013 were also recognized. They are Supt. Elmer Lim, SPO1 Mikee Espina, PO2 Dennis Onasin, PO2 Roy Lofranco, PO2 Edwin Campomanes.
From January until May this year, PRO 7 caught eight suspected gun-for-hire members compared to the two suspects captured by the second-placer PRO 13.
Constantino said the PRO 7 arrested 19 suspected criminals, while the National Capital Region Police Office, which came in second, arrested 17 suspects from February until May.
The PRO 7 also ranked first in seizing evidence (drugs, firearms and explosives) from January until May. The PRO 3 came in second.