NAGA CITY—Random drug tests conducted by the Naga City Dangerous Drugs Board in some barangays in September showed that many of those who have volunteered for rehabilitation have not actually stopped using drugs.
Naga Mayor John Bongat ordered surprise random drug tests in barangays in coordination with the Department of Health following police reports that many of those who volunteered to surrender still trade drugs either as a user or pusher in the belief that their voluntary surrender would clear them of drug charges.
In Barangay Balatas, 32 of the 38 surrenderers who reluctantly submitted themselves to the tests were again found positive for drugs.
In Barangay Sta. Cruz, five of 10 surrenderers were found positive; in Barangay Del Rosario, six of 20 tested positive; and in Barangay San Francisco, one of 22 was found positive.
NCDDB executive officer Jose “Toti” Importante said the suspects who agreed to a second drug test in the third week of September were only 50 percent of those who actually surrendered in Naga City since the start of the drug war in July. He said they suspect that most of those who declined could still be on drugs.
Importante said drug violators who stop using drugs and avail of opportunities to reform will not be charged in court.
Naga City and Camarines Sur have consistently registered the highest number of drug violators in Bicol, followed by Albay and Legazpi City. On September 22, four drug suspects were killed in Barangay San Felipe in a Naga buy-bust operation. Relatives of one of the victims, Gualberto Manlangit Jr., claimed it was a rubout.
But Bicol police director Chief Supt. Melvin Buenafe said there was an exchange of gunfire between the police and the four victims. Apparently, Buenafe was monitoring the police operation so he was seen at the crime scene minutes after the incident happened around nine in the evening.
The Philippjne National Police Regional Office 5 at Camp Simeon Ola in Legazpi City reported that close to 50,000 drug violators have surrendered as of July. Some 3,300 of these were pushers and 62 of them were killed.
PNP Bicol spokesperson Senior Insp. Maria Luisa Calubaquib said these drug surrenderers should stop returning to drugs or face the consequences, saying they are monitored.
Earlier, PNP Director General Ronaldo “Bato” de la Rosa warned drug violators to surrender or be killed.
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