CCPO chief defends personnel over killing of Tejero ‘pusher’

POLICE Col. Engelbert Soriano defended his anti-narcotics operatives over the killing of a suspected pusher during a drug bust in Sitio Villagonzalo 2, Barangay Tejero, Cebu City on Wednesday night, Jan. 29, 2020.

“It was a buy-bust operation, which was legitimate,” said Soriano, officer-in-charge of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), adding, “nagulat yung tropa natin nang bigla na siyang nagpaputok (our troops were stunned when he suddenly opened fire at them).”

The slain suspect was identified as Ricardo Solante Valdueza, 21. His alleged cohort Barbra Natividad delos Santos, 46, was arrested.

The Waterfront Police Station drug enforcement team, which conducted the operation, brought Valdueza to the Cebu City Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Valdueza had multiple gunshot wounds in the body.

Joel Juson Ouano, 53, landed in the hospital after he was wounded in the stomach during the shootout between the police and Valdueza. The police claimed it was the suspect who opened fire at them first. However, he missed, hitting Ouano instead.

Soriano said his personnel followed the rules of engagement—they only fired back after the suspect pulled the trigger on them.

Police Regional Office 7 Director Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon went to a private hospital where Ouano was admitted and he checked on his condition.

Syndicate member

Valdueza was reportedly a member of a drug trafficking syndicate, which operates in Cebu City and other parts of Cebu Province.

Despite the police’s relentless anti-drug campaign, Soriano said there are several drug groups still operating in Cebu. The CCPO, he said, has a list of 50 drug personalities who have not ceased selling illegal drugs.

The police official has reminded his personnel to always wear their bulletproof vests when conducting drug busts to protect themselves.

Mandaue drug bust

On Thursday, Jan. 30, suspected pushers Rendon Gerundio, 28, and Felipe Misa, 33, were caught in a drug bust in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City.

The Basak Police Station operatives seized 16.52 grams of “shabu” worth P112,336 from the suspects, who hail from Consolacion town in northern Cebu.

In 2019, Gerundio was arrested for frustrated murder, while Misa was caught for illegal drugs. The Basak police did not give details on how the suspects got out of jail. (AYB, BBT & KFD / KAL)