P7.9-M worth of marijuana seized in Cordillera police ops

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021   •   519

MANILA, Philippines Thousands of dried marijuana plants and seeds were confiscated in a series of raids conducted by police operatives in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday.

In a statement, PNP chief General Debold Sinas said the Cordillera police launched the operations on five clandestine marijuana farms in Kalinga from Thursday until Friday, as part of PNP’s “summer offensive” against cultivation of prohibited plants.

The police raid on the five plantation sites, with a total land area of 2,550 square meters, stemmed from a buy-bust operation conducted by joint elements of Special Operations Unit 2, led by PNP Drug Enforcement Group with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Isabela, the Isabela PIU, the SAF Kalinga and the 2nd Coy KPMFC on February 18, 2021, that resulted in the arrest of two persons.

The PNP said the operation yielded the arrest of two persons who told authorities about the illegal cultivation of marijuana in the mountainous area of Barangay Loccong, Tinglayan, Kalinga.

This information led to the clearing operations and destruction of marijuana plants in coordination with the PDEA, the PNP said.

Police said a total of 21,600 fully-grown marijuana plants were destroyed in the clandestine farms, including some 30 kilograms of dried marijuana stalks and one kilogram of marijuana seeds, all estimated to be worth P7,945,000 based on standard drug price used by the Dangerous Drugs Board.

“Let me reiterate that police operation against the cultivation, production, and trafficking of Marijuana will continue without let-up because under Philippine laws, Cannabis in the form of plants, products, and its derivatives is still a dangerous drug as defined under Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” Sinas said.

Suspected MILF lost command member nabbed in Zamboanga del Norte – PNP

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A suspected member of the notorious lost command of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was arrested in Zamboanga del Norte, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday.

In a statement, PNP chief General Debold Sinas identified the suspect as 37-year old Kayser Martinez alias Alihamra Martinez, who was said to be a former member of the MILF lost command group operating in Siocon and Sirawai towns in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Martinez was arrested on Wednesday during an operation jointly conducted by elements of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 9 and Siocon Municipal Police Station by virtue of warrant of arrest under criminal case number 232 for the crime of multiple murder issued by the RTC 9, Branch 6, of Dipolog City, Zamboanga Del Norte.

Citing court records, Sinas said Martinez was involved in the massacre of four civilians last August 3, 1999, in Sitio Guisakan, Barangay D. Reconalla, Siocon, Zamboanga Del Norte with his former MILF Lost Command Leaders Hairulla Hassan alias Hayron Hassan and Eddie Namenso alias Commander Liwayway.

They were also among the perpetrators of the daring attack on Siocon municipality last May 4, 2003, that resulted in casualties and damages in the municipality.

Currently, Martinez is a member of Hassan Group criminal gang allegedly led by Anderson Hassan alias Commander Sabaya, cousin of former notorious leader Hairulla Hassan who are at the same time eminently monitored tying up with the Local Terrorist Groups (LTGs) based in Panabutan, Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte.

“Manhunt operations against the leader and other members of the criminal gang are underway to prevent them from further victimizing innocent people,” Sinas said.

Martinez is presently detained for further interrogation.

Appropriate charges will be filed against him in court, the PNP said.

Suspected BIFF bomber nabbed in Maguindanao police ops

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The man allegedly behind the series of bombing incidents in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat has been arrested in a counter-terrorism operation, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday.

PNP chief General Debold Sinas identified the suspect as Norton Saptula, 23, an alleged member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter-Karialan Faction under chief staff Sukarno Sapal alias Diok.

He was said to be involved in the bombing incidents that transpired on August 28, 2018 in Brgy. Kalawag 3, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat that resulted in 36 wounded civilians and three deaths.

He was also accused of involvement in another incident on September 2, 2018 in Brgy. Kalawag 2, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat that resulted in 14 wounded civilians and two deaths.

Sinas said Saptula was also the 5th most wanted person in the SOCCSKSARGEN Region.

He was arrested on Wednesday in Poblacion, Ampatuan, Maguindanao when operating troops served a warrant of arrest against him for three counts of complex crime of murder with multiple frustrated murder.

The PNP said Saptula was booked at Ampatuan Municipal Police Station and was turned over to Isulan Municipal Police Station for documentation and proper disposition.

“The arrest of Saptula is a setback in the atrocities of the BIFF operating in Maguindanao area and nearby provinces. Moreover, this successful operation would likely affect the planned attacks of local and foreign terrorist organizations,” Sinas said.

Sinas says PNP won’t interfere with ‘private sector initiatives’

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Debold Sinas has assured the public that police will not interfere with any ‘voluntary private sector initiative’ that seeks to provide the basic needs of people severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sinas did not explicitly mention community pantries in various parts of the country but he said the PNP “fully supports such expression of Bayanihan culture and Filipino spirit of compassion.”

“Hindi makikialam ang PNP sa aktibidad ng mga pribadong grupo na mamahagi ng ayuda sa mga tao,” he said in a statement.

“[W]e will continue to extend utmost assistance to ensure smooth and orderly operations of private sector outreach activities with greater emphasis on the health and safety of both benefactors and beneficiaries of these public endeavors,” he added.

The PNP chief, however, slammed “apparent attempts by certain quarters to create mass hysteria by propagating falsehood and fake news over cyberspace.”

“These persons will be unmasked, investigated and their motives probed,” he said.

“Hindi namin palalampasin ang ganitong pagpapalaganap ng kasinungalingan upang magsulong ng kanilang layunin,” he added.

Sinas’ statement comes after an organizer of a community pantry in Quezon City claimed of being “red-tagged” by government authorities.

The PNP chief also promoted their similar efforts in giving to those in need, saying the continuing implementation of the PNP Food Bank Project has benefitted some 35,512 families and 8,511 other individuals.

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