By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – The provincial police director in Pangasinan in calendar year 2013 arrested more violators of illegal drugs shabu (Methamphetamine Hydrochloride) and marijuana than his predecessors in 2012.
Based on the records of buy bust operations, issuance of search warrants, uprooting of marijuana plants, apprehension including arrest through plain view possession of the illegal substance , numbers of pushers and users nabbed, and numbers of cases filed by the police in court against the suspects in calendar years 2012 and 2013 the Philippine National Police in Pangasinan under then provincial director Sr. Superintendent Marlou C. Chan showed he snared more pushers and users in 2013 than in 2012.
According to the report on the enforcement of Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (RA 9165) furnished by a source, who asked for anonymity at the PNP, a total of 277 positive anti-illegal drugs operations were launched by the police provincial office (PPO) in Pangasinan which resulted to the arrest of 423 pushers and users and the confiscation of 378.412 grams of Shabu, 399.49 grams of dried marijuana leaves and 22 marijuana plants with a total estimated Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) value amounting to Php2,494,039.80 and the filing of 354 criminal cases in different courts within the humongous province.
“These accomplishments speak well of our serious campaign against drug menace as compared to the accomplishments garnered during Calendar Year 2012 with only 204 operations conducted, 283 users and pushers arrested and confiscation of 293.6887 grams of shabu, 1,262,069 grams of dried marijuana leaves and two marijuana plants with a total estimated DDB value amounting to Php 2,004,031.80 and the filing of 283 criminal cases,” according to the report.
The report added that year 2013 was considered a litmus test for the PPO. Two political exercises were held that during the year - the 2013 Synchronized National and Local Elections and the 2013 Barangay Election. These polls were persistently addressed to contain the pressure of peace and order.
“Data show that during the 2013 National and Local Elections, the whole Province of Pangasinan was identified and categorized as one of the fifteen provinces in the entire country as Priority Elections Areas of Concern while in the 2013 Barangay Election, 90 barangays in 26 municipalities and four cities in the province were categorized as Election Watch list of Areas (EWAs) of concern. This adds up to the regular function of the Pangasinan PPO on the maintenance of peace and order covering forty-four (44) municipalities and four cities encompassing a total land area of 5,369 square kilometers with a population of 2,779,862”.
The following data would show the comparison of drug related cases in Calendar
Years 2012 and 2013:
The source said these events did not hamper the PPO on its unwavering campaign and enforcement of RA 9165 in support to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the fight against the drug menace.
The source said that the PPO directors in Pangasinan in 2012 were then Sr. Superintendents Rosueto Ricaforte and Mariano Luis Verzosa, while the provincial PNP top honcho in 2013 was the controversial Sr. Supt. Chan.
Chan has a strained relationship with Governor Amado T. Espino upon his assumption of the provincial police command in the middle of December 2012 up to his exit in December 17, 2013.
“It is ideal for the police provincial director to have a rapport with the governor in the fight against illegal drugs, but inspite of the absence of that relationship the data under the leadership of Chan showed that arrest of violators spiked under his stint compared to the apprehension records of his predecessors who have good rapport with the governor,” the source said.
Recently, Governor Espino gave a marching order to new acting provincial director Sr. Supt. Sterling Raymond Blanco and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Regional Director Adrian Alvarino to wage an all-out war against the galloping cases of illegal drugs.
The governor deplored that the low conviction rates in the courts of arrested drug pushers prompted him to coordinate with Regional Trial Court Judge Hermogenes Fernando to sponsor last year a seminar for peace officers and officers of the court on the proper handling of illegal drug cases filed in the court.