DAGUPAN CITY – “We condemn in the strongest term possible the extra-judicial killings being perpetrated by supposed vigilante groups that identify themselves as "Dagupan Death Squad" and "Pangasinan Death Squad" upon innocent people whom they simply perceive to be persons involved in illegal drugs in the city".
This was expressed by Mayor Belen T. Fernandez in the light of several recorded killings of innocent persons, including two students here one of whom was Rowena Vergara Tiamson, a 20-year old Mass Communications student of Colegio de Dagupan and Roman Clifford Fernandez Manaois of Barangay Carael.
“There is no such thing as Dagupan Death Squad or Pangasinan Death Squad operating in our city,” said Fernandez when she spoke July 28 in front of students at the City Library during the training and launching of the free Wi-Fi access in Public Places.
The Dagupan City Police Station confirmed that Tiamson was not among the drug peddlers and users in their list while Manaois’ autopsy reportedly yielded negative result on any trace of drug use or abuse in his system. Both were about to graduate from their respective courses this year.
Fernandez called on students to be selective in choosing the right company for their safety as she further urged them to observe the curfew hours being implemented in the city for them to stay away from trouble.
“If you happened to know someone engaged in using and peddling illegal drugs, please make use of our anti-drug textline 0947-377-7777,” urged Fernandez.
Corrolary to this, Fernandez has put up a rehab desk at city hall where illegal drug users can avail of free rehabilitation process after passing through some legal procedure. To date, the city has already enrolled more than 200 drugs users under the program.
“At the end of the day, what is important is we were able to rehabilitate some drug users,” said Fernandez.
She, however, warned that surrendering to the authorities does not mean that one is already cleared as "we will still watch your back because our intention is that if you surrender, there must be a firm resolve on your part not to go back to your vice anymore”. (Joseph C. Bacani/CIO)