Philippines

Police official killed in Dipolog City anti-drug op

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Police official killed in Dipolog City anti-drug op
By Gualberto Laput

DAPITAN CITY, Zamboanga del Norte (Philippines News Agency) — A senior police officer was killed during a drug buy-bust operation conducted by the police’s Counter Intelligence Task Force (CITF) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) inside a school campus in nearby Dipolog City late Monday.

Chief Insp. Joseph Ortega, Dipolog police officer-in-charge, identified the slain high-ranking police official as Supt. Santiago Ylanan Rapiz, head of the logistics branch of the provincial police.

Ortega said Rapiz was playing basketball in the gymnasium of the Andres Bonifacio College when he went out to meet the “poseur-buyer” at 7:40 p.m. Monday.

However, after receiving PHP50,000 in marked money for the suspected “shabu’, Rapiz reportedly sensed the authorities and quickly ran to the side of the gym while firing his pistol.

Ortega said the CITF and PDEA operatives fired back, hitting Rapiz. The police officer was declared dead upon arriving at Dipolog’s Corazon Aquino Memorial Hospital.

According to police sources, Rapiz was linked to Melvin and Merriam Odicta, allegedly top illegal drug dealers in Iloilo, who were gunned down on Aug. 29, 2016 while disembarking from a passenger ship at a port in Aklan.

Police said they suspect that Odicta’s protectors were behind their killings because the couple was reportedly disclosing some information to Malacañang.

Rapiz, who was reportedly included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list, was relieved of his post in Bacolod and sent to Dipolog City after the Odicta killings.

When pressed for answers why it took two years to pin down Rapiz, provincial police director, Senior Supt. Michael Macapagal, declined to respond and instead referred the Philippine News Agency (PNA) to the city police under Ortega.

Meanwhile, Chief Supt. Emmanuel Luis Licup, Police Regional Office 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) director, said the joint operation of the CITF and PDEA was a legitimate operation.

PDEA, Licup said, coordinated with PRO-9 prior to the operation.

The CITF has already neutralized three policemen, including Rapiz, involved in illegal drug activities in the region.

The first two, both non-officers, were killed in a shootout in Barangay Ayala, this city last August 18.

The two were assigned with the Station Drug Enforcement Unit of the Police Station 9 under the Zamboanga City Police. (PNA)

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