By: Jennifer P. Rendon
AN OMEN of a new chapter in “bloody” anti-drugs campaign?
Two days after the new director of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 signified that illegal drugs will still be one of his top priorities, an alleged underling of suspected Western Visayas drug lord Melvin Odicta was killed in a police anti-narcotics operation.
Japhet Zerrudo alias Katoi, 30, was killed after he allegedly traded bullets with cops during a buy-bust operation at his house in Barangay Tanza-Esperanza, City Proper, Iloilo City around 12:50 a.m. of June 29, 2019.
Two police poseur buyers from the Regional Drug Enforcement Unit (RDEU)-6 bought a sachet of shabu worth P7,500 from Zerrudo.
The sale was consummated when the alleged shootout happened.
Police Captain Marc Dado, RDEU team leader, said Zerrudo had earlier instructed the two “buyers” that no mobile phone will be allowed during the transaction.
“But one of our poseur buyers had placed a missed call to signal us that the transaction was already completed,” he said.
This allegedly irked Zerrudo who allegedly drew a caliber .357 revolver from his waist and aimed it at the two policemen.
The two cops returned fire hitting Zerrudo on different parts of his body.
The suspect sustained six gunshot wounds. He was rushed to the hospital but did not survive.
Recovered from the crime scene were Zerrudo’s revolver chamber loaded with four live and two fired ammunition and a pouch containing nine sachets of suspected shabu.
Based on police records, Zerrudo is the 86th drug personality slain during police operations. His father, Levi, was a suspected right-hand man of Odicta.
Dado said the Zerrudos claimed that Levi is already dead.
“We’re asking for a death certificate or any proof that Levi is dead but they could not present any,” he said.
In 2007, when he was still a teenager, Japhet was arrested for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Earlier, the newly-designated police director of Western Visayas said that illegal drugs would still be one of his priorities.
Police Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan, who assumed the PRO-6 helm on Thursday, said he would still go hard against illegal drugs.