Village exec on ‘narco list’, 3 others fall in DavOr raid

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DAVAO CITY — Authorities arrested a barangay official, who was included on the government’s “narco list”, and a soldier during simultaneous raids that also netted two other alleged drug personalities in the Davao Oriental town of Lupon on Friday morning, a police official said.

Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, Police Regional Office 11 (Davao) director, said Private First Class Rhean Baligwat was inside the residence of Barangay chairperson Erwin Barabag when the combined units of the Police Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) served a search warrant at the official’s residence in Barangay Macangao, Lupon.

Morales said Baligwat, an active member of the Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion, yielded a fragmentation grenade, three caliber .45-mm. ammunition, three caliber .9-mm ammunition, and assorted drug paraphernalia.

“We did not know him (Baligwat). It was only during the interview that we knew he was a soldier,” Morales said in an interview.

Morales said Barabag — the subject of the search warrant — has been on the list of “narco politicians” since 2016 and even at the height of Oplan Tokhang that year.

Barabag was placed under surveillance for weeks, he added.

“Hindi siya huminto sa kanyang illegal activities (He did not stop doing his illegal activities),” the police official said, referring to the barangay official.

Seized from Barabag were one caliber .45 pistol with one magazine loaded with six live ammunition, two small heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected “shabu” (crystal meth), and one elongated heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu.

The PDEU and PDEA team served more search warrants against other alleged drug personalities in the town, identified as Ruth Petiluna, Marjun Generale, Em-em Wenceslao, and Baby Shane Palma.

The raiding team found in Wenceslao’s possession four heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing suspected shabu. She is a resident of Purok Claro, Barangay Poblacion.

Palma escaped during a raid on a bunkhouse in Purok Townsite of Barangay Poblacion, but authorities managed to corner Petiluna and Generale.

Police said Generale yielded four sachets of suspected shabu.-Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA

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