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Posh villages, nightclubs

THE Philippine National Police will soon go after rich drug personalities, those living in posh subdivisions and known for frequenting exclusive bars, as part of the strategy to curb illegal drug trafficking and abuse, PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa said yesterday.

The PNP chief however said that anti-narcotics operations against wealthy and influential targets will only be conducted on the strength of search warrants and suspects will be arrested only if they are caught redhanded.

Gen. de la Rosa maintained that as a truly professional organization, the PNP will always follow the law and police standard operating procedures when performing its mandate.

“We always follow the law when we go after crime offenders particularly those involved in drugs.This is the reason why we need to get search warrants to raid houses, drug laboratories being maintained by suspects in posh subdivisions. This is the reason why we get their men to testify against them in court. Everything we do is legal,” he said.

The PNP leadership also brushed off criticisms that police are only targeting hours after being named by President Duterte in his drug list were “rich and powerful politicians.”

Gen. de la Rosa said the vaunted PNP Oplan: Tokhang will soon be conducted inside exclusive subdivisions in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

The other day, members of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group shot and killed a suspected supplier of drugs to addicts in showbiz during a raid in an exclusive subdivision in San Pedro City, Laguna. A cohort of the suspect was also killed in the operation.
   
Last month, Makati Mayor Abby Binay asked residents and barangay officials of the city’s six exclusive villages to cooperate and assist the police in identifying known drug users and pushers in their “gated”communities.
   
“I ask the barangay leaders and residents of the six villages to allow the Makati police to conduct Oplan Tokhang inside their subdivisions.The war against drugs can only be won if we extend our full cooperation with the police, especially in locating known pushers and users in our own backyard,” the mayor said. The villages are Barangays Magallanes, Dasmariñas, Forbes, San Lorenzo, Bel-Air and Urdaneta.
   
Police have failed to implement Oplan: Tokhang in those subdivisions simply because they were not provided with a list of residents said to be involved in drugs. Oplan: Tokhang mandates PNP station commanders to ask their barangay captains to submit a list of residents known to be into illegal drugs, including pushers, dealers, users and couriers.
   
Instead of a list, police reportedly received barangay certifications that drug dealing and abuse are not taking place in the upscale subdivisons.