By Tara Yap
Iloilo City— The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Western Visayas denied claims that there are orders to kill police officers who are linked to the illegal drug trade.
“Our kababayans should not think these are state-sponsored shootings,” emphasized Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, director of Police Regional Office (PRO-6).
This is after the failed assassination attempt on Police Officer 1 Dorben Acap in Iloilo City and the killing of Richard Dollosa, a dismissed cop, in Bacolod City this week.
Acap is believed to be involved in the illegal drug trade while Dollosa, who has been absent without leave (AWOL), is both a suspected drug pusher and drug user.
The twin shooting incidents came days after President Rodrigo Duterte was in Iloilo City, the regional capital of Western Visayas. Duterte expressed the need for a crackdown of officials involved in the illegal drug trade.
“I have not ordered anyone to do these shooting even if the President told me that illegal drugs will remain a problem here in Western Visayas if the local government officials or police officers are involved,” Bulalacao told Manila Bulletin in a phone interview Friday.
“Hindi naman siya nagsabi sa akin papatayin ko lahat at hindi ko naman gagawin kasi may policy kami sa PNP (He didn’t tell me to kill everybody and I will not do it because the PNP has a policy),” Bulalacao pointed out.
“We should observe or respect human rights. We will preserve the life of the people even if they are suspects in a crime. We will always observe due process,” Bulalacao added.
In the attempted assassination of Acap, a fellow cop is the main suspect. Authorities have arrested Police Officer 2 Melvin Mocorro for attempting to kill Acap.
In the case of Dollosa, Bulalacao explained that it was a legitimate police operation and Dollosa fought the arresting officers.
“He (Dollosa) went AWOL because he was required to undergo drug test and he refused. Later on, there were persistent reports that he was involved in drug dealings,” Bulalacao noted.
Aside from alleged narco cops, two other drug-related incidents also occurred in Iloilo.
Barangay Captain Remia Prevendido-Gregori was shot and killed by unknown gunmen last June 24. The lady village chief was the sister of Richard “Buang” Prevendido, the slain drug lord who was killed by police operatives last year for resisting arrest.
The following day, police operatives also arrested Barangay Captain Noel Odicta for illegal possession of firearms. The village chief is the brother of Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr., another slain drug lord.