Three suspected top drug personalities operating in the province were shot dead by lawmen on allegation of self-defense in separate incidents in Currimao, Laoag City and San Nicolas, this week.

In Currimao town, 23-year-old Benedict Corpuz was killed in Poblacion Uno, last July 26, police said.

Senior Insp. Ryan Retotar, chief of PNP-Currimao, said that joint police personnel from PNP-Currimao and PNP-Pinili conducted a drug buy-bust operation against the suspect after he returned selling illegal drugs again despite that he voluntarily surrendered to the authorities earlier this month.

Investigation showed that Corpuz was shot by an operative as he drew a gun when he sensed that the buyer is a police officer.

Police recovered from the suspect a caliber .45 pistol, and several sachets of alleged shabu hidden in a bag.

In Laoag, the top No.16 drug personality in the city was shot dead by a cop during a buy-bust operation in his rented dormitory room in Brgy. 7-B last July 27.

Police said their undercover was forced to shoot the suspect identified as Ruel Andres when he drew his gun after he noticed his customer is a lawman.

His live-in partner defended the victim and told reporters another version of the incident.

In San Nicolas, the rank No. 5 drug personality here was killed in an alleged shootout with police operatives following a drug buy-bust operation in Brgy. 16, this town on Saturday.

Police identified the suspect as Andres Pasalo, a resident of Brgy. 6, of this town.

S/Supt. Jose Melencio Nartatez, Jr., OIC PNP provincial director, assured that police operatives observed proper procedures in the conduct of these operations.

He said that since the police officers are always in the front line they are compelled “to implement or use deadly force when their lives or the lives of others are in danger.

“We have done a lot of trainings on police operational procedures and we have punished police officers who have not following these procedures. Above all, we do not want to war or the use of deadly force kasi kami ang nandyan sa firing line”, he said.

Nartatez commended the concerted efforts of the community, Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC), and media for their involvement in the campaign against illegal drugs. (tsg)