BAGUIO CITY – A 16-year-old student was killed alongside a suspected drug pusher during a buy-bust operation in Baguio City last Friday.
The student was identified as Richter Baykin of the Pines City National High School.
Baykin was with Genard "Nash" Palomique, a suspect in the City Anti-Illegal Drug Group's watch list, when policemen held a sting operation in Labsan Street Interior, Barangay Kayang.
Town police chief Senior Supt. George Daskeo said the suspects fired the first gun shot that prompted policemen to retaliate.
"Lumaban sila kasi under threat na sila," Daskeo said, referring to the operatives.
Palomique and Baykin both died from gunshot wounds.
But Palomique's wife, who refused to be identified, denied that her husband was involved in any illegal activity.
“Wala naman po siyang iligal na ginagawa. Nagtataka kami bakit siya nagkaroon ng baril. Na-set up lang siya,” she said.
The family of the slain student, meanwhile, said they will file a complaint against the operatives.
“Kung sino man 'yung pulis na yumari sa anak ko pasensyahan nalang tayo. Magfa-file ako ng kaso, hindi tama ang ginagawa nila. Ang bata ng anak ko bakit dinamay nila," said Regie Baykin, the student's father.
9 DEATHS IN ONE WEEK
Aside from Palomique and Baykin, six others were killed in drug-related cases in Baguio last week.
Among them is alleged drug suspect Reynold Fernandez who was shot by unidentified suspects on board a motorcycle in Barangay East last Monday.
Jeepney driver Paul Lee, another alleged drug peddler, was also shot on Monday by two men near his home in the same barangay.
Lee was under the watch list of Philippine Drug Enforcement agency Cordillera (PDEA-CAR).
His wife, Abegail Rapanot, said he was a drug user but that he never sold narcotics.
“Gumagamit siya noon pero tinigil niya na nung namatay 'yung panganay niyang anak last year. Pero kahit kalian hindi po siya nagbenta,” she said.
On Wednesday, gold miner Joel Banando was also shot outside his home in Tuding, Itogon, Benguet.
Two more shooting incidents were recorded in Magsaysay Avenue and Barangay Santo Niño on Thursday, killing Marvin Lazate and Joel Nider, respectively.
Another suspected drug peddler was injured in a separate shooting incident at Baguio City's Camp Lagoon on Friday night.
The victim, who is now recovering at a local hospital, refused to be identified and interviewed.
Two more unidentified fatalities were found Saturday in Shilan, la Trinidad, Benguet.
Written on their bodies was the phrase, "Tulak ako ng Shabu! Kayo na ang susunod!"
Senior Supt. Daskeo emphasized that the police does not condone extra-judicial killings and should not be blamed for the spate of murders.
He also claimed that most of the suspects are vigilantes themselves, and may have been killed by their own groups.
"Parang nag-kakaonsehan na rin itong mga ‘to. Tine-take chance naman nila ito. Hindi maalis ang possibility na they were shot by their own group, and the PNP doesn’t condone summary execution,” he said.