THE region’s top police official ordered tighter security in Danao City, following threats to the local police and to the head of the Capitol’s office against illegal drugs.
Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas said that Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Noli Taliño has told the Cebu Provincial Police Office to look more closely at the city.
This followed the fatal shooting last Aug. 11 in Danao City of Medz Alvaro, whose brother is alleged drug pusher Alvaro “Barok” Alvaro, and Barok’s alleged right-hand man Ronie Castro.
The day after that fatal shootout during a buy-bust, two men on a motorcycle approached the Danao Police Station and repeatedly fired at it.
Senior Insp. Alejandro Batobalonos, the city police chief, said they are on high alert because they still receive threats, allegedly from Barok’s camp. Barok has been detained in the Cebu provincial jail since he surrendered in Bohol last June.
Two nights after the shootout in Barangay Looc, Danao City, a death threat was sent to Carmen Durano-Meca, a former Provincial Board member who now heads the Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CPADAO).
“Bawos-bawos lang ta mam. Gihilabtan man mi ninyo, mosud ka Danao kuhaon ka namo” was the text sent to Durano-Meca at 10:55 p.m. last Aug. 13.
Meca said she immediately informed her father, Danao City Mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano III, and Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Senior Supt. Jose Macanas.
This is the first threat Meca has received since she assumed her new post.
“But it will not stop my passion, advocacy and dedication for this job,” said Durano-Meca, 39.
When asked if the PRO 7 will deploy additional police officers to Danao City, Lawas said they are still waiting for an order from Taliño.
Batobalonos said their operation last Aug. 11 was legitimate.
Emma, the mother of Barok and Medz, has filed a complaint before the Commission on Human Rights 7, saying the police’s operation was an overkill.
She also asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 to enter the picture, saying the autopsy results showed that Medz had not been tested for gunpowder burns. (These would have shown whether or not he had fired a gun shortly before his death.)
Emma said that Medz did not own a gun as far as she knew. She accused the police of planting the firearm in the crime scene.
For her part, Durano-Meca said she had expected to receive threats when she accepted her new appointment.
“Kay bisan unsang straightforward nato, naa gyud di kauyon (Because no matter how straightforward our job is, there will always be those who won’t be pleased),” she said.
The threat was sent to the number that Durano-Meca had given her CPADAO contacts in different towns.
She said her authority in the anti-illegal drug campaign is limited to the “demand reduction” side, meaning she has no authority to investigate or operate against suspects. When she receives reports on illicit drugs or the supposed locations of suspects, she immediately forwards these to the police.
When asked how her family has reacted to the threat she said, “The fear is always there, but I knew when I accepted the position that I would be facing challenges.”
As this developed, the CPADAO surprised government and barangay workers in Moalboal with a drug test last Aug. 19. Four out of 314 tested positive, including a barangay councilman.
Cpadao conducted another surprise drug test in Medellin last Aug. 22, where two out of 221 tested positive of drugs.
Of those who tested positive of drugs, CPADAO has yet to subject them to confirmatory tests.
Those tested positive in the previous tests and were confirmed positive in the next test were either suspended for months (first offenders) or dismissed from the service.
Regular employees who tested positive of drugs were dismissed, as required under Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular 13, issued in 2010.