2 pushers in Duterte ‘narco list’ killed in GenSan raid

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Two alleged drug personalities on President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s so-called “narco list” were killed in an encounter with anti-drug operatives in a village here on Saturday night.

Chief Supt. Eliseo Rasco, Region 12 police director, on Sunday said the encounter ensued during two major search operations in Barangay Fatima here against three targeted drug personalities, including a police officer assigned in Maguindanao province.

He identified the slain suspects as Juliet Sepi Bitayo, 46, and Noren Balawag Apil, 54, both residents of Ondok Gawan Road, Purok 16 in Barangay Fatima.

Rasco said the two resisted arrest and engaged operatives in a firefight during a search operation in the area at around 10:20 p.m.

The suspects were rushed to the Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital but were declared dead on arrival by attending doctors, he said.

Rasco said the search warrant, which was issued by Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 16 Judge Emmanuel Carpio, mainly targeted Bitayo for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Apil was listed as Bitayo’s cohort and reportedly on the area’s drug watch list.

“Bitayo was a level 1 target drug personality while Apil was listed under level 2 based on the President’s narco list,” Rasco said.

The operating team was composed of joint elements from the Police Regional Office 12’s intelligence division, city police’s drug enforcement unit, city mobile force company, city intelligence branch and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Region 12.

Recovered during the search were two caliber .38 revolvers loaded with ammunition, a Norinco .45-caliber pistol with a loaded magazine, a medium plastic pack and six square-shaped plastic sachets containing suspected metamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu".

In another search operation, Rasco said the team seized suspected shabu, firearms, ammunition and a grenade at the house of PO1 Michael Sepi in the same village.

He said Sepi, who is assigned at the Maguindanao Police Provincial Office, is a brother of Juliet Bitayo and reportedly “one of her protectors.”

Recovered from the police officer’s house were a caliber .38 snub-nosed revolver, a caliber .38 revolver inside a holster, three caliber .38 live bullets and an empty shell, a fragmentation grenade, and 13 rectangular and square-shaped plastic sachets containing suspected shabu.

“He (PO1 Sepi) was not around during the operation and is currently at-large,” the police official said.

Operatives arrested the police officer’s nephew, Yasser Sepi Sumail, 25, who was inside the house during the raid.

Rasco said the search operations were witnessed by officials of Barangay Fatima and a media worker.

He said they submitted the seized illegal drugs to the PDEA-12 laboratory for proper examination and valuation.

Sepi and Sumail will be charged with possession of dangerous drugs and illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives, he added. (PNA)