ILOILO City – Thanks to his bulletproof vest, an undercover policeman survived a shootout with a drug suspect in Barangay Guzman-Jesena, Mandurriao district yesterday morning.
City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU) chief Police Captain Kenneth Gratones declined to identify the policeman but said the cop, who had the rank of staff sergeant, was okay and only sustained a bruised chest.
The drug suspect, on the other hand, died. The undercover policeman shot him, said Gratones.
The suspect was 37-year-old Giovanni Mejica. The buy-bust and shootout took place at Imperial 6 Subdivision, Barangay Guzman-Jesena.
According to Gratones, the buy-bust was carried out at around 11:30 a.m. Mejica sold to the undercover policeman a sachet of shabu worth P2,000.
When the cop was about to arrest Mejica, the suspect drew a .38 revolver and fired at the policeman’s chest.
“The bulletproof vest saved the life of my policeman. Without it he could have died,” said Gratones.
On Mejica, he said, “We have no choice but to shoot him. He was armed.”
The suspect expired while being rushed to the Western Visayas Medical Center.
Policemen recovered Mejica’s gun (.38 revolver), 49 sachets of suspected shabu valued at P30,000 and a grenade.
Gratones said Mejica was a high-value target connected with the Prevendido drug group.
“When drug lord Richard Prevendido died in 2017 Mejica temporarily stopped peddling shabu but eventually resumed,” said Gratones.
Despite its relentless campaign against illegal drug personalities since July 2016, the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) still has 643 remaining high-value targets.
These personalities are under surveillance and various police units have been tasked to get them, according to Brigadier General John Bulalacao, regional police director.
“Expect our operations to be bloody if they fight back,” said added.
Thus the better option for these high-value targets is to surrender peacefully, he stressed.
He cited one case – the April 28, 2019 operation in Estrella Subdivision, Barangay 6, Victorias, City, Negros Occidental that led to the death of suspected drug lord Leoner Jalandoon.
The Jalandoon drug group covered Negros and Panay islands.
Jalandoon sold P27,000 worth of shabu to a police poseur-buyer and fought back when he was about to be arrested, according to Bulalacao.
The police afterwards recovered more shabu valued at P2.7 million.
“I’m warning drug personalities. You will suffer the same fate as Jalandoon’s should you fight back,” said Bulalacao./PN