Tuesday, March 21, 2017
ILOILO City – The Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) received text messages claiming suspected drug lord Richard “Buang” Prevendido of Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao district was planning to surrender peacefully.
The police, however, wanted to double-check the messages.
“Wala man nagpakilala ang sender. But if Prevendido indeed wants to surrender, we welcome this,” said Superintendent Gilbert Gorero, spokesperson of the PRO-6.
According to the texter, Prevendido feared he would be harmed or killed.
The city and provincial governments of Iloilo have a combined bounty of P1 million for Prevendido’s capture.
The anonymous texter started contacting the PRO-6 two weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the resumption of the police’s Oplan Double Barrel against drug traffickers, said Gorero.
Prevendido has a standing arrest warrant for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Sachets of shabu were recovered from his house during a raid of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) October last year.
Chief Superintendent Jose Gentiles, regional police director, had been publicly urging Prevendido to surrender since December last year “so he won’t be harmed.”
The Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) has been receiving a lot of tips on the suspect’s whereabouts but the target remains elusive.
“We are verifying these tips. Ang dami,” said Senior Superintendent Harold Tuzon, IPPO director. Yesterday, he ordered more checkpoints.
“I told my men dapat mahigpit tayo in checkpoints. Baka mahuli natin if it’s true na dito siya sa area ko,” Tuzon said.
Sources told Panay News Prevendido had not left Western Visayas and, aided by confidantes, was constantly moving around to elude policemen.
PDEA assistant regional director Levi Ortiz expressed confidence that the suspected drug lord will soon be caught.
“Matiyaga ang mga operatives natin,” Ortiz said.
A lot of suspected members of the Prevendido drug group were caught in recent months, including the “high-value” Bonie Prevendido Gregori, Richard’s nephew and son of the barangay captain of Bakhaw, Mandurriao, Remia Prevendido Gregori.
According to another nephew and arrested drug suspect Ednie Jimena, his uncle Richard had protectors from the police and PDEA but did not give any name.
If Jimena were to be believed, two former PDEA personnel received a P20,000 payola from Prevendido every 15th day of the month.
Jimena is currently detained at PDEA-6’s detention facility in this city. He was arrested on Jan. 31 in front of his apartment at Salvador Estate, Parañaque City.
Law enforcers hunting Prevendido aim to capture him alive, according to IPPO’s Tuzon.
Prevendido became so careful not to get caught, added Tuzon, because the suspect was afraid that even relatives and associates would turn against him.
“The reward for his arrest is so big. Many are surely interested to catch him alive,” said Tuzon./PN