Jonah said that the police just barged into their house and shot Omeng at around 3pm of July 24. Omeng’s mother, Lester, was trying to protect him when the police entered their house, but the police slapped her and forced her outside of the house. Just when his mother turned her back, the cousin said, the police shot him.
"Isang putok pa lang po nagmamakaawa na yung kuya ko sabi sa kanila, na hindi naman daw po siya lalaban. Susuko siya. Tapos ang sinigaw po ng pulis 'Magsitago kayo nanlalaban'. Ganun yung sinigaw nila," she said.
The police, she added, fired around six shots.
Killed in front of grandma
Omeng died in front of his 67-year-old grandmother who could not leave the area because she was bedridden. She suffered from a stroke nine months ago.
She said her grandson could have been still alive had the police listened to her when she asked them to bring him to the hospital, “as he was still alive for thirty minutes.” It was already too late by the time the paramedics arrived, she added.
Contrary to the police report, Omeng did not own a gun, the cousin said.
Guns and shabu
But police said they recovered from Omeng a .38-caliber revolver and three plastic sachets containing suspected shabu.
In the middle of the buy-bust operation, police said Omeng drew his gun and opened fire upon noticing that the buyer was a policeman.
According to one officer, the poseur buyer did not carry a gun as part of their standard operating procedure, which left him defenseless.
Gun didn’t fire
Luckily, Omeng’s gun malfunctioned and the back-up policemen came to the rescue and were able to return fire, the officer said.
Just more than a month after Duterte assumed the presidency, from July 1 to September 29, a total of 1,276 drug suspects were killed during police operations, according to PNP. In addition to this, 725,791 drug users and pushers voluntarily surrendered while another 19,907 were arrested.
No motive to kill
Picos and Omeng were only two of the thousands of reported fatalities since Duterte’s war on drugs began.
“These 1,000-plus (suspects),” Carlos said, “we don’t want them dead; however, they fought it out.”
Omeng left three children behind, his nine-year-old twin daughters and a
five-year-old daughter. He used to work as a tricycle driver and as a part-time construction worker. He had difficulty in finding a job for the past two months and thus ventured into drugs, the cousin said.
No second chance
Picos wanted to start his life anew, a life away from prohibited drugs, before he was killed in an anti-illegal drugs operation.
The PNP aims to hit 70-percent or 1.2 million of the 1.8 million drug users before the end of six-month promise of Duterte.
And there lies the problem, according to Ellecer Carlos, spokesperson of human rights group iDEFEND.
"Ang panganib dito, itong napatay na ito, pumirma na ito doon sa form at sinabi na siya ay pusher o drug dependent. Ginagamit tuloy siya na dahilan ng ating kapulisan para masabi na nag strike one na itong tao na ito o nag strike two na kaya siya napatay," he said.
"Kasi kung binibigyan mo ang sarili mo ng deadline, binibigyan mo ng quota ang ating kapulisan. Pinepressure mo sila to produce results and if you pressure our law enforcement agency, nanganganib na sila ay mag-commit ng kalabisan."