By NITZ ARANCON
THREE masked men shot and killed an alleged drug peddler in Barangay Natumolan, Tagoloan town in Misamis Oriental at around 2:30 am yesterday.
Tagoloan police chief Maj. Rogelio Manalang identified the victim as Kleafjan Pagara, 35, of Barangay Natumolan.
Manalang said town rescuers rushed Pagara to the St. Paul Hospital after the shooting but the victim was declared dead by Dr. Juvill Bautista at 3:20 am.
He said Pagara was a known drug peddler in the barangay and had just been freed from the Misamis Oriental provincial jail where he was jailed for a drug-related case.
Manalang said Pagara also had a pending warrant of arrest issued by Judge Vincent Rosales of the Regional Trial Court Branch 23.
Pagara, Manalang said, was in the watch list of the Tagoloan police.
The victim’s nephew Jay Pagara said that at about 2:30 am, they were sitting on a bench near the Natumolan Barangay Hall so they could access the public wifi signal.
He said three masked men suddenly came and drew out their guns. He said his uncle was not able to evade when the suspects started shooting, and he dropped to the ground.
Police found five sachets of suspected shabu, a lighter, and a rechargeable flashlight at the crime scene.
Dr. Christian Caballes, a medico legal officer of the Scene of the Crime Operatives, said Pagara succumbed to two gunshot wounds to the chest that pierced through the back.
The suspected shabu found at the crime was sent to Soco’s laboratory for examination while Pagara’s body was sent to Agrida Funeral Parlor in Villanueva town.
Pagara’s family, Caballes said, has accepted the fate of Kleafjan given his long history with illegal drugs.
It was unclear what the police planned to do to identify and catch the masked killers.
Meanwhile in Cagayan de Oro, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested a suspected drug peddler during a buy-and-bust operation in Piaping Itum, Barangay Macabalan Tuesday afternoon.
PDEA regional director Wilkins Villanueva identified the suspect as 29-year-old Roel Monterola Ramas of Piaping Itum.
Villanueva said PDEA agents seized from the suspect three sachets of suspected shabu weighing 20.7 grams valued at some P130 thousand.
Law enforcers also seized from Ramas a motorcycle, a cellphone, and a P1-thousand bill that was used as entrapment money.
PDEA filed charges against Ramas before the City Prosecutor’s Office yesterday afternoon.