October 10 - October 16, 2005

Buy-bust gone bust
PNP blames SN dad for fiasco

San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte—What was supposed to be a simple buy-bust operation of the Philippine National Police from this town turned into a controversial incident after the suspect they were about to collar escaped into the house of municipal councilor.

In their hot pursuit operation, members of the PNP said the suspect, identified as Rey Tabisura, a resident of Barangay 13 in this town, ran into the house of San Nicolas Councilor Angelo Ilaga to evade arrest after the buy-bust operation was conducted.

The police were apparently not given permission to enter the councilor’s residence to arrest the suspect as Ilaga’s daughter blocked the law enforcers from entering their house. She then called up the councilor to negotiate with the police officers.

As a result of this, the police have alleged that Ilaga is a “protector” of drug personalities.

In an interview with PO2 Elizer Tuzon, leader of San Nicolas PNP’s special operations team, he said the operation was going well after their police asset has given the signal Tabisura had accepted the 5 P100 bills marked money as payment for a sachet of shabu. The transaction took place inside a Mitsubishi Adventure with plate number WDW 253.

After the signal was given, the police moved in to arrest the suspect but Tabisura may have noticed them as he immediately headed towards Ilaga’s residence.

In a separate interview with Ilaga, he explained that he did not allow the police operatives to enter his house since they did not have a warrant to search his residence. He said he believes he only did what was right.

The police however countered that in cases of a pursuit operation, a search warrant is not necessarily needed as the subject had been identified and was caught committing a crime.

In the end however, Ilaga turned over the suspect to the police but the marked money was no longer with the suspect. The mark material—the shabu sachet—however was still with the PNP’s poseur-buyer.

PNP officials decried the fact their aggressive campaign against illegal drugs seems to be becoming futile because of uncooperative persons who are also supposed to be in the forefront with them fighting crime.

In a later development, Ilaga explained that Tabisura ran to the said house because his girlfriend was then apparently in the residence. The woman was reportedly a friend of one of the members of the Ilaga family.

Meanwhile, San Nicolas Vice Mayor Norberto D. Dadiz, along with the other members of the town’s Sangguniang Bayan, vowed to conduct an investigation on the matter if the police would file a complaint against Ilaga.

The San Nicolas PNP however refused to comment more on the issue saying they would still report and consult the matter first with San Nicolas Mayor Alfredo P. Valdez Jr., who was on official leave when the incident happened.

Leilanie G. Adriano

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