“WE’RE back! Operation Double Barrel Reloaded is on in Pangasinan.”
This was the terse message of P/Sr. Supt. Ronald OIiver Lee, Pangasinan’s acting police provincial director, to drug pushers and addicts even as he expressed optimism that the clergy will respond positively to his invitation to participate in some planned PDEA-police operations against suspected drug pushers and addicts.
Without wasting a minute, the provincial police immediately served six search warrants in the houses and premises of separate suspects and all these turned out positive.
He said the serving of the warrants marked the official resumption of the war on drugs in the province.
Lee also told the KBP Forum in Dagupan City last Thursday, his office has initiated talks with Church leaders in the province about the possible participation of priests in some operations but was quick to point out the presence of the priests will be optional.
“But we encourage them to join us because after all they have been very active in the first part of the Double Barrel campaign in the rehabilitation and reformation aspects through spiritual counseling.”
Lee said he received his orders to resume drug operations under PDEA’s (Philippine Drug Agency Authority) lead last Thursday.
He said anti-illegal drugs operations have started in Pangasinan through the implementation of six search warrants that were previously approved but were not implemented due to the suspension of drug operations last month.
He cited one drug dealer from Barangay Basing in Lingayen who was served a search warrant early Thursday morning few days after the police was tipped off that the suspect had returned to his home village.
Another warrant was served successfully by the police against a drug personality in San Manuel town early Thursday, who had just returned to his village also, said Lee.
He said more applications for search warrants that target high value drug personalities are now pending.
Lee said 87 percent of the barangays in Pangasinan were cleared of drugs before the suspension of police operations, but some may have to be reclassified as drug-affected again since a number of drug users and pushers were confirmed to have returned to their illegal activities in some cleared barangays.
When Double Barrel’s Operation Tokhang operation was suspended, he said they did not stop monitoring activities of drug personalities particularly those who did not surrender and those already identified but were not arrested.
Lee said some operated openly believing that the police had no authority to arrest them. “So we just let them, and they came out.” he said.
With the gathered intelligence during the suspension period, he said operating today would be like “picking apples” because the movements and identities of old and new targets have been established.
Lee confirmed that there are two towns in Pangasinan that are drug-free–Sto. Tomas and Laoac, and may be joined later by the towns of Natividad and Mabini.
He said they will continue to monitor business establishments to detect the presence of drug laboratories but offhand, he said, the province has only street level pushers and not even a financier.
He maintained there is no drug laboratory or marijuana plantation in the province and believes that Operation Double Barrel Reloaded will be as successful as the first that led to the to the surrender of over 19,000 drug users and pushers in Pangasinan. (Leonardo Micua/Tita Roces)