By Joseph Almer Pedrajas
Several police officers who held a drug bust in San Andres Bukid, Manila were locked up inside the house where they conducted the sting as the relatives of the suspects insisted that the latter were not engaged in illegal drug activities and questioned the validity of the operation.
The tension, which lasted around four hours, came after anti-narcotics agents of Manila Police District’s Police Station 5 (Ermita) held the sting against Saadudin Alawiya, 28, and Abdullah Maute, 29 around 5 p.m. on Friday. Police said, they were included in the drug’s watchlist.
But the suspects’ relatives denied that Alawiya and Maute were peddling drugs and said that the police did not present their identification cards (IDs) during the operation.
They also said that the police did not show a search warrant when they allegedly raided the suspects’ house and tried to forcibly open the vault containing their jewelries.
“Pagpasok nila sa bahay namin ay agad na pumunta ang isa nilang kasamahan sa kwarto namin kung saan nakalagay ang vault at pilit binubuksan…Pinagkukuha pa mga cellphone namin dito (When they entered our house, one of them immediately went to our room where the vault was located and tried to forcibly open it. They also confiscated our cellphones),” a certain Alyanhessa Mognie said in a Facebook post.
Facebook Live videos posted on Mognie’s Facebook account also showed dozens of people gathered in front of the suspects’ house. They even chained the gate in a bid to prevent the lawmen from leaving.
The suspects’ relatives and neighbors, mostly members of the Muslim community, were also shouting at the lawmen to call them out as they questioned the operation.
“Ipakita ninyo ang ID [niyo],” several men were heard shouting, addressing the policemen.
A police report said that, “during the suspects’ arrest, the relatives and bystanders thereat, tried to grab and take away the suspects in the custody of the arresting police officers.”
“But through the help of the reinforcement team from MPD Headquarters, they failed to do so,” it added.
Lt. Col. Ariel Caramoan, head of MPD PS-5, told the Manila Bulletin that the operation was legitimate and was coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
He also belied that police raided the suspects’ house and were not able to present their IDs, as evidenced by various social media posts.
“Yung original na transaction is dapat, yung bentahan, sa Luneta. Hindi natuloy. Kaya sa bahay mismo (The drug transaction was originally set at Luneta but it did not push through. So it was conducted at the suspects’ house),” he said.
Police said, they recovered eight plastic sachets of suspected shabu worth P258,400 and a buy bust money.
The inventory of the seized items was not immediately done inside the house due to the tension between the police and suspects’ relatives and neighbors, Caramoan added.
The suspects eventually turned themselves in when their lawyers and other members of MPD arrived, he added.