The incident was caused by an anti-narcotics sting carried out by joint operatives of the Anti Crime Task Force (ACTF) and the city and provincial drug enforcement units Monday afternoon.
P/Capt. Noel Manalo, team leader of the Puerto Princesa City Police Office-Drug Enforcement Unit (PPCPO-DEU), named the injured policeman in a spot report as “newly-identified pusher” P/MSsg. Philip Abejo Pablico, 40, an active member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) currently assigned at the Palawan Provincial Police Office (PPPO).
Pablico, a resident of Barangay New Agutaya in San Vicente town, is under tight watch now at the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) for reportedly sustaining a gunshot wound, Manalo’s report said.
Also arrested was Arnel Ramirez Alvarade, 37, an alleged street-level shabu peddler, and resident of the same San Vicente barangay; and Simplicio Ibañez Yayen, 57 and Gina Barda Yayen, 47, both residents of the city.
Manalo’s spot report to P/Col. Marlon Balonglong, director of the PPCPO, claimed that on June 1, a joint team carried out the buy-bust operation in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) against Alvarade and Pablico along CM Oceo Road in Brgy. Bagong Sikat.
An undercover agent was able to buy from them a sachet of shabu for P1,000. Alvarade was arrested, but Pablico escaped on a black Ford Everest with no plate number.
A chase ensued, with an exchange of gunfire between Pablico and the pursuing policemen.
Witnesses said there were exchanges of gunfire between Pablico and the anti-narcotics operatives during the chase that began on Valencia Street near the PPCPO Station 1 and ending up on Mercedez Road in Brgy. San Manuel.
In an interview with Palawan News, Balonglong said the arrest was made after operatives of city and provincial drug enforcement units, peace and order council of the province, and ACTF led by Manalo conducted a buy-bust operation.
Alvarade was making the sale to the police asset while Pablico was in the car waiting. But Pablico sensed it was an anti-narcotics sting operation and set off to flee.
Recovered from Pablico’s vehicle were an infant rifle commando chamber loaded with a magazine, one caliber 45 with a magazine, a black sling bag containing one sachet of suspected shabu, and some identification cards and documents.
Balonglong said the Yayen couple was arrested for trying to help Pablico escape. He said a case for obstruction of justice will be filed against them.
“Itong si Ping Yayen at si Gina Yayen, hinarang ng mag-asawang ito ang mga sumusunod na mga tao natin, buti na lang wala nang matakbuhan. Nag-human barricade ang mag-asawa na ito may mga kasama pang iba. Na-identify naman ang mag-asawang ito na sila ‘yong operator ng carwash na ito kaya ipa-file natin ang [ang kasong] obstruction of justice,” he said.
Balonglong added that this was not the first time that the couple had protected drug personalities. There was also a case where a subject of their buy-bust operation took refuge at their carwash shop.
“Pangalawang beses na to, kaya kami nagre-request ng closure nila, dahil pangalawang beses na kapag may hinuhuli ‘yong mga DEU natin doon sa kanila tumatakbo. Malamang ito ay haven o pinagdudulugan ng mga drug suspects dahil ‘yong lugar nila medyo liblib kasi,” he added.