Police identified the suspected drug personalities as Lihbon Kerr Bargayo, Christopher Lim, and Boyet Rama.
“We have been monitoring this group for a month,” said Police Brig. Gen. Remus Medina, chief of the Police Drug Enforcement Group, who arrived in the area shortly after the alleged shootout at around 10 p.m.
Before the shootout, police conducted a buy-bust operation in Barangay Campo 4, Talisay City in which Bargayo transacted with a police poseur-buyer.
Bargayo sensed that he was dealing with a policeman and pulled out a gun. He fired shots at the police before running to a vehicle where his two cohorts were waiting. The three men sped off toward Cebu City. Police conducted a hot-pursuit operation and alerted their counterparts at the Highway Patrol Group-Central Visayas (HPG Region 7).
HPG-Region 7 operatives headed by Police Major Gideon Merza conducted a roadblock and intercepted a black Toyota Vios without a license plate in Barangay Taptap.
Police tried to stop the vehicle but the men inside the car allegedly opened fire, triggering another shootout.
The three men died on the spot while no one from the side of the police was hurt, said Medina.
At least 10 kilos of shabu, a 5.56 caliber Armalite, a .45 caliber pistol, and a .38 caliber revolver were recovered from the suspects, police said.
Medina said the packaging used to wrap the suspected shabu bore Chinese markings, an indication that the illegal drugs were smuggled into the country.
“We found pepper in the packaging. They placed pepper so that it will not be detected by drug-sniffing dogs. It was one way to avoid detection,” Medina said.
Further investigation will be conducted to determine if the three men had cohorts and possibly identify the source of the seized illegal drugs, said Medina.