New players in the illegal drug trade would likely emerge following the death of drug lord Richard Prevendido, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Region 6.
“We expect na malaki ang pag-decline ng supply ng illegal drugs dito, but we also expect new drug groups at ‘yan ngayon ang ating tinitingnan at minamanmanan,” said Director Wardley Getalla.
PDEA-6 expected Prevendido’s down lines to temporarily stop their illegal trade “but we believe they would resume after a few months.”
“We won’t allow that. We have already started hunting Prevendido’s down lines,” said Getalla.
Prevendido was killed in a shootout with policemen in Barangay Balabago, Jaro district on Sept. 1.
Getalla said new illegal drug players could be recruiting new runners or street pushers whom the police and PDEA are not familiar with.
He did not discount the possibility that these new players would enlist minors who, under the law, are not to be detained in police prison cells when caught for infractions.
But the next immediate target of the police and PDEA is the suspected right-hand man of Prevendido, the drug fugitive Ernesto Bolivar, a resident of Barangay Guinacas, Pototan, Iloilo. He is reportedly operating in Capiz and parts of northern Iloilo.
Bolivar has a standing warrant of arrest. He was charged with violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 after a buy-bust operation at his house on Nov. 9, 2016.
Bolivar managed to flee but operatives of PDEA and the Police Regional Office 6 recovered a large plastic sachet of shabu.
Five days before the failed operation to get Bolivar last year, on Nov. 4 the suspected “brain and muscle” of the Prevendido drug group, Bonie Prevendido Gregori, was arrested along with eight others in Tobias Fornier, Antique.
Gregori was a nephew of Richard Prevendido. He was charged with violation of sections 5, 6 (maintenance of a drug den) and 11 (possession) of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002 while his companions were charged with violation of Section 5 in relation to Section 26 (conspiracy) of the antidrug law.